Our Prime Minister threatened to “shirtfront” him, the leaders of the free world gave him the cold shoulder and rumours were rife that he had a gut-full and left the summit early. But what did Vladimir Putin really think of Australia?
Putin addressed a forum of his supporters in Moscow yesterday, and according to the official transcript, he had nothing but praise for his Australian G20 experience.
“(Our) Australian partners created an extraordinarily welcoming atmosphere for work,” he said. “I was surprised by the warmth with which normal Australian citizens received our delegation.”
Putin also praised Tony Abbott, although he wasn’t as kind to the United States.
“They (United States) do not want to humiliate us, they want to subdue us, solve their problems at our expense,” Putin told his supporters. “No one in history has ever managed to achieve this with Russia, and no one ever will.”
Putin has refuted reports that he left the summit early because he was frustrated with his treatment by Western leaders. As he left on Sunday, he told reporters it was because he wanted to get some sleep ahead of the long flight to Russia, and praised the “constructive atmosphere” of the summit.
He described Tony Abbott as “a very businesslike person”.
Of course, Tony Abbott’s promised shirtfronting of Putin never eventuated.
“When all is said and done, President Putin was a guest in our country,” Abbott told reporters.
“President Putin is a member of the G20 and I was happy to treat him with respect and courtesy while he was here in Australia.”
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