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Old pals Berlusconi and Putin reunite in Crimea

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Old pals Berlusconi and Putin reunite in Crimea
Silvio Berlusconi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Viktor Korotayev/Pool/AFP
15:25 CEST+02:00
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italy's billionaire former leader Silvio Berlusconi on Friday met for informal talks in Crimea which Moscow annexed from Ukraine last year, an official said.

Putin and Italy's disgraced former prime minister, who the Russian strongman counts among his close friends, visited an Italian war cemetery near the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, a spokeswoman for Crimea's regional leader told AFP.

The cemetery became the final resting place for many Italian soldiers who perished in the 1853-1856 Crimean War which involved armed forces from the Italian kingdom of Sardinia.

Berlusconi, who has repeatedly praised Putin's leadership in the past, is in Russia on a private visit expected to last until Sunday.

Putin and Berlusconi are longstanding friends who vacationed together in the past.

During a visit by Putin to Rome this June, the media tycoon pledged his Forza Italia party would work to lift Western sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

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