Putin says he celebrated last birthday with Xi Jinping over vodka and sandwiches
Vladimir Putin said in an interview with CCTV that he celebrated his last birthday with vodka, sandwiches and Xi Jinping.
Before a group interview with foreign press in Sochi, the Russian president jokingly said to a CCTV reporter, “Give us mao-tai please,” referring to the strong Chinese liquor.
He then recalled how he spent his 61st birthday last October with his Chinese counterpart.
“Last time at my birthday, we drank a little vodka together,” he said. “We even had sandwiches like university students.”
The interview has not yet been broadcast but CCTV has released a clip of the above exchange and a still of Putin smiling with his arm around reporter Shui Junyi.
“It was a very special courtesy for me as a Chinese reporter,” Shui said in a broadcast with a CCTV anchor. “He said our two countries were good friends…and when he said this he suddenly stretched out his arm and gave me a warm hug.”
“Everyone there, including the president’s people, was a little surprised,” he said. “I was moved by his warmth.”
A section where Weibo users could ask Putin questions had more than two million hits in four hours.
Shui relayed one netizen’s suggestion to the president: “Putin, you are so handsome. You should star in tough-guy films after you retire!”
Putin responded that he might join an amateur ice hockey club for the over-40s instead, after he was pictured three years ago displaying his skating skills at an ice hockey game with Russia’s national team.
Watch: Putin recalls drinking vodka with Xi Jinping