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12 May, 2015 15:24

Potatoes for Kerry: Russian FM keeps up gift exchange traditions

During talks in Sochi, the Russian foreign minister presented his US counterpart with a Victory Day t-shirt and baskets of potatoes and tomatoes. Looks like an answer to Kerry’s giving him Idaho potatoes in 2014.

Sergey Lavrov and John Kerry met in the Southern Russian city to discuss international and bilateral relations. While giving no comments about the subject of the talks, the Russian Foreign Ministry wrote on Facebook about the gifts the two diplomats exchanged.

Lavrov gave his overseas counterpart a t-shirt featuring the symbols of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, whose 70th anniversary Russia has just marked.

Sergey Lavrov presented to John Kerry Sochi tomatoes and potatoes, which are the distant relatives to those which were...Posted by МИД России on Tuesday, May 12, 2015

He also presented John Kerry with two baskets of vegetables: tomatoes and potatoes, which, according to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, are "distantly related to the ones given to [Lavrov] by his American colleague a while ago."

In January 2014, Kerry gave Lavrov two large potatoes from Idaho, while the two were holding talks in Paris. Lavrov later said a Southern Russian farm asked him to donate the potatoes for cultivation experiments. However, later a Foreign Ministry source was cited by the media saying the potatoes didn't take.

READ MORE: US Secretary of State Kerry traveling to Russia, set to meet Putin, Lavrov

As a return gift for Sergey Lavrov at the Tuesday meeting in Sochi, John Kerry gave him a collection of quotes from the Russian media, which, as he said, "do not reflect the true potential of Russian-US relations," according to the Foreign Ministry's facebook page.

That was later denied by the press secretary of the US embassy in Moscow, who wrote in his Twitter that Kerry in fact gave Lavrov a briefcase as a gift.

Мария Захарова возможно спутала подарки. Вот настоящий подарок от Керри - портфель. pic.twitter.com/p27byAzAfq

— Will Stevens (@WBStevens) May 12, 2015

After the meeting, both Lavrov and Kerry proceeded to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin.