Vladimir Putin, leader of Russia, doesn’t feel the need to repent.
When asked about any regrets he had, Putin told the Italian newspaper Corriere de Sera: “I will be quite frank with you. I cannot recollect anything of the kind.
“Clearly God has built my life in a way that I won’t have anything to regret.”
Currently, Putin is Italy, a relatively Moscow-friendly European state, where he was enthusiastically greeted upon meeting Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi in Milan today. Crowds cheered “Russia! Russia!” and Putin’s name over and over again.
And Putin mirrored the sentiment in the aforementioned interview.
He spoke warmly of Italian-Russian relations nothing that “in the last couple of years, trade between our countries increased eleven fold, from what I believe was $US4.2 billion … to over $US48 billion.”
But the trip isn’t just about economics. One of the biggest highlights of Putin’s Italian excursion was his meeting with Pope Francis.
Reportedly, Ukraine was the topic of discussion during the meeting, but it’s so far unclear what the conclusion of the meeting was.
Earlier this week, at the G7 summit in Germany, president Obama blasted Putin, stating that “He’s got to make a decision: Does he continue to wreck his country’s economy… in pursuit of a wrong-headed desire to recreate the glories of the Soviet empire?”
Furthermore, Ken Hackett, the US ambassador to the Vatican, and many others in the West hoped that the Pope would urge Putin to seek peace in the Ukraine, and adhere to the Minsk convention.
“Maybe this is an opportunity where the Holy Father can privately raise concerns,” Hackett told Reuters.
Changing the mind of a man who has no regrets seems a tall task, but Moscow looks on these meetings as an important source of “supplementary external legitimacy,” as Andrei Zolotov, a Russian journalist, said to The Telegraph.
However, notably, the Pope has not taken a strong stance against the conflict in Urkaine, despite the fact that many Ukrainian Catholics have urged him to do so.
In fact, the Pope even referred to the conflict as “fratricidal,” which was blasted by the leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church as being “reminiscent of ‘Soviet propaganda.'”
And in any case, although Western media zeroed in on the Putin-Pope rendezvous, Russians barely blinked an eye. As Mashable notes, locals in Pushkin Square weren’t even aware that the meeting was taking place.
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