04:11 GMT +320 January 2020
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    Franco Frattini, former foreign minister of Italy and former vice president of the European Commission, has spoken about how the Russian president received him at a summer house near Moscow.

    Franco Frattini has revealed that Vladimir Putin always received him when he came to Russia as Minister of Foreign Affairs, saying that "twice these meetings took place at his house near Moscow".

    This happened for the first time shortly after the politician's appointment as head of the Italian Foreign Ministry in November 2002.

    “Knowing that I love animals very much, Putin brought with him his wonderful, very cute dog - the black Labrador Connie. And while we were talking, it was always sitting by the fireplace, between us", the politician said.

    He recalled that during this particular meeting Putin told him about an unique programme to protect the Amur Tiger, which was threatened by extinction.

    "And such a project was really implemented, the Amur tiger was saved", the ex-minister said.

    Frattini emphasised that he had many good personal impressions of his meetings with Putin. “After all, you can be a major leader, but the personal, human aspect always remains extremely important and interesting", he said.

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    Russia, Vladimir Putin, Franco Frattini
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