Putin gets surprise gift & jokes about Swiss ‘honorary escort’ for Russian press in Peru (VIDEO)

© Андрей Дюжин
The story of a Peruvian woman, who tried to give Vladimir Putin a sweater as a present, only to be detained and questioned by police, ended happily on Sunday, when a journalist presented her gift to Russia’s president after a press conference.

Putin was holding the briefing after the two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit to answer a wide range of questions.

Afterwards, the president was surprised by an unusual gift. On Saturday, local resident Julia Castro had tried to give Putin a sweater produced by her own small enterprise, but ended up being detained by local law enforcement.

Although the woman’s generosity landed her at a police station, it also propelled her into the media spotlight, which prompted Russian journalists to try to help.

“I was there at the APEC summit venue, but cordoning was set everywhere later. I probably did not choose a good time, because very serious security measures were taken in view of the presidents’ presence,” Castro told local RPP radio station, lamenting Saturday’s upsetting turn of events.

However, she later told RT that her determination and genuine fondness of the Russian language and culture helped, too.

“It all began when I was taking Russian lessons at the age of 17. I met some Russians, and decided to use the fact that the Russian president came to Peru to strengthen relations with my country. About three months ago, I knitted this alpaca wool sweater. And to me it was, perhaps, a dream come true. They say you should follow your dreams, and that’s the goal I set for myself,” Julia Amelia Castro Morales told RT Spanish.

While the briefing mostly touched on economic and foreign policy issues, the president made light of one incident considered by some as a sign of recent tensions between Russia and the West. When a reporter asked Putin for his take on a recent encounter between a civilian Russian plane and Swiss fighter jets that were sent to shadow it, Putin responded with a smile, saying “Let’s consider that an honorary escort.”

On Saturday, three Swiss military aircraft escorted a civilian Russian plane carrying Kremlin pool journalists and some officials to Lima. Some of the passengers raised concerns about how close the military jets had come to their plane. The Russian Foreign Ministry requested an official explanation from Switzerland, and the Swiss Defense Ministry responded, explaining that the escort had just been a “routine check” of the plane’s identity.