Tips on bilateral ties from Putin

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and his Georgian counterpart Mikhail Saakashvili have got some useful advice on preserving ties from the Russian prime minister.

Vladimir Putin commented on their meeting in Kiev, which coincided with his meeting with Ukrainian PM Yulia Timoshenko.

Putin: I don't have the slightest idea what our colleagues were doing, but I think two presidents always have something to talk about, something to discuss, places to visit – like it says in a Russian poem – "The soldiers were looking back to the past, remembering battles together they lost".
We are going to dinner now, my colleague invited me, and we are going to talk about Chekhov. What else could I recommend? It is better for the two Presidents to not wear ties to dinner, if they are in fact going to eat dinner. Ties are expensive these days. Just to be on a safe side… If you know what I mean.

Timoshenko: Well, I know I am not wearing a tie to dinner.

Putin: We don't want Yushchenko's guest to swallow his tie.

Watch Putin's monologue

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The comments were clearly a reference to an infamous incident last year, when Saakashvili was seen chewing on his tie during a live TV broadcast at the time of the war in South Ossetia. Vladimir Putin also suggested the two leaders could discuss their failures.

Meanwhile, in Kiev, while calling for a reconsideration of the Russian-Ukrainian gas deals during his media conference with Mikhail Saakashvili on Thursday, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko confused President Medvedev’s name and patronymic, calling him Anatoly Dmitrievich instead of Dmitry Anatolievich. Then the Ukrainian leader continued, without correcting himself.