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Berlusconi has ‘reconnected’ with Putin, sent him wine and a ‘sweet letter,’ according to report

Berlusconi has ‘reconnected’ with Putin, sent him wine and a ‘sweet letter,’ according to report

Ex-Italian PM says he and Russian leader exchanged birthday gifts.
Silvio Berlusconi has “reconnected” with Vladimir Putin and described himself as one of the Russian president’s “five real friends,” according to an audio recording published in Italian media.

The former Italian prime minister was speaking at a meeting of his Forza Italia party in parliament during discussions on forming a new government, La Presse reported. In the audio clip, Berlusconi says he is worried about Italy’s relationship with Russia as “ministers have said that we are already at war with them because we provide arms and funding to Ukraine.”

He then adds: “I have rekindled my relationship with President Putin, a bit.”

According to Berlusconi, the two exchanged birthday gifts (Berlusconi turned 86 on September 29, Putin turned 70 on October 7).

“For my birthday he sent me 20 bottles of vodka and a very sweet letter,” Berlusconi can be heard saying in the audio clip. “I replied with bottles of Lambrusco and an equally very sweet letter.”

He adds: “I have been one of his first five real friends.”

According to local media, Berlusconi denied the alleged resumption of relations with Putin. “President Berlusconi told parliamentarians an old story about an episode dating back many years,” said a statement from Forza Italia, la Repubblica reported.

Ahead of the Italian election late last month, Berlusconi defended Putin, saying the Russian leader just wanted to replace Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government with “decent people.”

Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s prime minister in waiting, has been at pains to distance herself from Russia, describing Moscow’s invasion as an “unacceptable large-scale act of war by Putin’s Russia against Ukraine” and advocating sending weapons to the government in Kyiv.
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