The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, has extended New Year greetings for 2024 to world leaders.

The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, has extended New Year greetings for 2024 to world leaders. The Kremlin reported that Putin conveyed his wishes via Telegram to the leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) nations, excluding Moldova, as well as the leaders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Among European leaders, he extended greetings only to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. Additionally, President Putin sent heartfelt messages to several other world leaders, including those from China, India, Vietnam, Laos, Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Syria, Turkey, and South Africa.

Furthermore, Putin didn’t forget to send regards to Pope Francis and a number of former foreign leaders, including former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

Meanwhile, Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov mentioned that during the New Year holiday in 2024, Putin would take a brief break from his duties. “Perhaps to some extent, but he never fully takes a vacation,” Peskov explained.

Russian President Vladimir Putin extended his New Year message to President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday and highlighted that, despite the difficult international situation in the world, relations between both countries developed dynamically.

Russian President also noted some major developments and India-Russia bilateral cooperation in the outgoing year.

The note read, “The messages addressed to President of the Republic of India Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister of the Republic of India Narendra Modi note that, despite the difficult international situation, the special and privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India continues to develop dynamically: in the outgoing year, trade has been growing at an exceptionally high rate and joint projects in various areas have been successfully implemented.”

He also stressed the cooperation between the two countries to develop multifaceted bilateral ties and coordinate efforts to strengthen security and stability at the regional and global levels.

The document read further, “Vladimir Putin praised the results of India’s chairmanship of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the G20 and stressed his conviction that Moscow and New Delhi will continue to develop multifaceted bilateral ties and effectively coordinate efforts to strengthen security and stability at the regional and global levels.”.

In addition, Vladimir Putin extended Christmas and New Year greetings to several former foreign heads of state and government, including Belarus, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Brzail , South Africa, Turkey and many others.

On December 28, Putin met with the External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar who was on his formal visit to Moscow from December 25 to 29 as a part of the ongoing high-level exchanges between the two sides.

During the meeting, Putin emphasised the positive stance of Prime Minister Modi on complex global developments, including the situation in Ukraine.

“We know the stance of Prime Minister Modi and we mentioned that repeatedly on many occasions. Well, his attitude towards some complex developments, including the flashpoints like…in Ukraine,” he noted.

The Russian President mentioned that he has advised PM Modi on the developments in Ukraine multiple times and indicated that further discussions on the matter would take place.

“Many times, I advised him of how things have been going there and I know that he (PM Modi) is willing to do his utmost so that the issue is resolved by peaceful means. So, we probably will delve into that deeper now, and we will give additional information to you on that time,” Putin added.

The Russian President also expressed gratitude for the progressing relationship between Russia and India amid global turmoil. “We are gratified to note that despite all the turmoil happening worldwide, the relationship with our true friend in Asia, India has been progressing incrementally,” Putin said.

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India has often articulated and clarified its stance on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, maintaining that the crisis must be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths on both sides.

Amid the raging military conflict, PM Modi has spoken to Putin as well as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

PM Modi also met Ukraine President Zelenskyy in Japan during the G7 summit in May 2023.

In the meeting, PM Modi assured that he would do whatever was possible to help resolve the conflict.

“India and I will do whatever we can to resolve the conflict,” PM Modi said.

New Delhi has sought a diplomatic solution to the conflict, with PM Modi telling Russian President Vladimir Putin in September that “now is not an era of war.” The remark drew praise from world leaders as well as the global media.

Prime Minister Modi advised President Putin to ensure a “cessation of violence,” stressing the need for both sides to return to the talks table.

During a telephonic conversation with Putin, PM Modi underlined that Delhi for now will stick to a path of strategic ambivalence on the Ukraine crisis.

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This is a pragmatic choice, one that reflects the complexities of a realist world and Delhi’s own positions on territorial integrity and sovereignty.

New York, Dec 31 (IANS): Retired US Army General Barry McCaffrey has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “actively hoping” that former President Donald Trump wins the 2024 Presidential election as Putin felt “Trump’s persecution was politically motivated reflecting the rottenness of the American political system”.

Trump, the frontrunner in the 2024 GOP presidential primary, has long been praised by Putin (even suspected of trying to interfere in the 2016 campaign to influence voters) and the former President has often quoted the Russian leader on the campaign trail.

The Russian President himself faces the electorate in his country facing a crisis of confidence fighting “ill health” besides the army’s resistance to prolong the war with Ukraine.

Putin is rumoured in the Kremlin to be suffering from cancer and that he is operating incognito from a far-off mansion in the outskirts of Moscow and some say he is in Georgia.

At a rally in Durham, New Hampshire, earlier this month, former President Trump quoted Putin, who reportedly criticised the numerous criminal charges that Trump is currently facing, denied by the former President and pleaded not guilty to.

“Even Vladimir Putin… says that Biden’s, and this is a quote, politically motivated persecution of his political rival is very good for Russia because it shows the rottenness of the American political system, which cannot pretend to teach others about democracy,” Trump quotes Putin.

Putin made the comment during an Economic Forum in eastern Russia as late as September this year. Putin did not name Biden in the original quote which was added by Trump, Newsweek reported in its latest issue, putting Trump on the cover with the caption “Trump, the year that was”.

Meanwhile, the relationship between Trump and Putin has been criticised since the former President’s 2016 run when questions of Russia’s alleged election interference and possible coordination with the Trump campaign arose, media reports said.

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“I have never understood this whole relationship between Trump and Putin. Putin is a thug, a murderer; he’s gotten the Russian Federation into terrible trouble economically, politically. He stamped out free speech. So, why Trump seems to be in league with this desperado is hard to understand,” McCaffrey said, during his interview appearance on MSNBC.

“Yes, Putin and for that matter other criminal enterprises like the North Koreans are actively hoping to have Trump back in office, where in my personal opinion, he would be devastatingly bad for US national security,” the retired General said.

Some media reports suggested that arch foes of US such as China, Iran, North Korea and Russia were in cahoots to disrupt or influence the 2024 elections using social media to spread false information or propaganda against the Biden administration and eulogise Trump.

McCaffrey, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, was in the US Army for 32 years and later served as Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy under President Bill Clinton. Newsweek reached out to McCaffrey via ‘X’ direct message, Trump’s campaign via email and the Russian government via online form.

Following Trump’s 2016 win against his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, the Department of Justice (DOJ) probed possible Russian interference. Special counsel Robert Mueller led the investigation and in March 2019, his findings were made public in what is infamously known as the Mueller report.

“Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” the report said.

Russia has denied allegations of election inference and Trump has called the Mueller report a “complete and total exoneration”.

On the question of whether Trump obstructed justice, the report said, “The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”

“While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” according to the report.

In March 2021, a declassified US intelligence report alleged Russia also tried to help Trump in the 2020 election, but found no evidence of foreign voter fraud.

Putin authorised “influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process and exacerbating socio-political divisions in the US,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence report said.

The Kremlin denied allegations that it interfered in the 2020 election, which Trump ultimately lost to Biden. The former President also denied being “given help from any country” in the election.