Belarusian leader gives Putin a tractor for his 70th birthday


st. St. Petersburg, Russia (AP) — President Putin of Russia I received an unusual gift for my 70th birthday on Friday: a tractor.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko presented Putin with a gift certificate for a vehicle when the leaders of several former Soviet states met at the imperial Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg. Tractors have been the pride of the Belarusian industry since Soviet times.

Lukashenko, an autocratic leader who has ruled the former Soviet state with an iron hand for nearly 30 years while cultivating his people’s image, told reporters he had a model for himself similar to the one he gave Putin. He said he used it in his garden.

It’s not clear how the Russian leader reacted to the gift, Lukashenko’s office said.

Putin did not mention the gift in his televised remarks when he spoke at the beginning of the meeting about the need to discuss ways to resolve disputes between the former Soviet states.

They also stressed the need for information exchange to combat terrorism, illegal drugs and other crimes.

Leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose alliance of former Soviet states, will attend another rally next week in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana.