14:44 GMT25 October 2020
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    Vladimir Putin's first big interview of the year was with Germany's leading newspaper Bild. Nikolaus Blome, Bild's deputy editor-in-chief who spoke to the Russian president, told Deutsche Welle that he was "happy with the result" and shared what impressed him the most.

    "Although I was aware of that, I was still surprised by how well [Putin] speaks German and understands the subtleties of the language," Blome noted. The journalist was also impressed by the Russian leader's impromptu recital of Die Lorelei, a poem by Heinrich Heine.

    Blome also mentioned that Russia and its leader were key to securing a lasting peace in Syria. 

    "Take a look at Syria. [The Syrian crisis] will not be resolved without Russia," the journalist noted. "Be it for good or for bad, sadly, this issue could not be settled without Vladimir Putin."

    Russian aircract at Hmeimim Air Base in Syria
    © Sputnik / Dmitriy Vinogradov
    Russian aircract at Hmeimim Air Base in Syria

    Russia has been at the forefront in Syria. Moscow has launched a multinational aerial campaign aimed at destroying terrorist groups that are fighting to overthrow the government in Damascus and establish and Islamic state in the Arab country, including Daesh and al-Nusra Front.

    Moscow's counterterrorism campaign has been hailed as a success, but getting the US and its allies in Europe on board has been a challenge. Putin has repeatedly called for the creation of a broad anti-Daesh coalition.  

    Nevertheless, the two countries appear to be increasingly working together to resolve the crisis, which has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people and left millions displaced. Putin and Obama recently discussed Syria in a phone conversation. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his American counterpart John Kerry are expected to meet next week to discuss the conflict.

    Blome also asserted that the Russian president wants to be "on equal terms" with the West. Putin "wants to be viewed as a major player in the international arena and this is what he, de facto, is."


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    Russian aerial campaign, Syrian conflict, Bild, Vladimir Putin, Russia
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