Accessibility links

Breaking News

Putin Ignores Ukrainian, Georgian Presidents In New Year Greetings

Russian President Vladimir Putin (file photo)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (file photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has left off neighbors Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, and the leaders of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, as well as Poland's head of state among the 41 national leaders to whom he extended New Year’s greetings on December 30.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov the same day said that additions to Putin’s greetings are possible. Zelenskiy and Putin later spoke by telephone on December 31 at the Ukrainian president's initiative.

"Not all the leaders have been included in the message. If it is necessary, information will be added," Peskov told reporters in Moscow.

Among those receiving the greeting were U.S. President Donald Trump, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Chinese President Xi Jinping, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Not forgotten on Putin's list were the self-proclaimed leaders of the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

In 2018, Putin didn’t send a New Year's greeting to then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Zurabishvili.

Russia's military fought a five-day war against Georgia in August 2008 that resulted in Georgia’s South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions declaring independence.

Russia has recognized the two regions as independent and has stationed troops there, but few other countries have followed Moscow's lead and Georgia and most other states consider them to be occupied territories.

In early 2014, Russia occupied and annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula -- a move that is widely considered illegitmate by the international community. Russia has also backed a separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine that has killed nearly 14,000 people since April 2014.

Based on reporting by Ukrayinska Pravda, Urdupoint, and

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.