Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Claims She and Putin Would "Talk for Hours"

March the 22nd, 2022 - Former Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has claimed that she and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is currently waging an unjustified and utterly bizarre war on neighbouring Ukraine, would ''talk for hours''.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the former Norwegian Prime Minister will leave his position in the Defense Alliance next autumn after serving a period of eight years and become the governor of the Norwegian Central Bank, and it is speculated that he will be succeeded by a woman from an Eastern European country.

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic didn't want to comment on a possible new position in NATO

In an interview with Dagens Nyheter, Index reports, former President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic didn't want to comment on any of the circulating media speculations that she could become NATO Secretary General, the competition for which includes former British Prime Minister Theresa May, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid and former Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, but she did make sure to point out that she enjoyed working as Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy from 2011 to 2014.

"Most of the employees there weren't used to having a woman as an associate, but they didn't treat me differently because of my gender. Congratulations to those generals and others who worked hard and didn't protest when we worked hard to empower women,'' the former Croatian president told a Swedish daily.

Former NATO Secretary General and former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, to whom Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic was an assistant in NATO until the end of his term back in 2014, commented on the upcoming election of a leading civilian official in the defense alliance:

"I think it would be good to choose a strong secretary general with good connections. What's happening in the world now means that NATO will play an even bigger role in the coming years. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic is one of the possible candidates, but there are other rumours. I can't say anything more about it at the moment.''

They described her as a conservative Croat

Two Dagens Nyhetera journalists interviewed Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic back on March the 8th after her lecture was held at the Stockholm Business School, a prestigious economic higher education institution, at which Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson completed her education.

Apart from speculating on whether "a conservative Croat would step up to the position in the footsteps of a social-democratic, peaceful and wealthy Norwegian", and stories about growing up in Yugoslavia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic's remarks about Russian President Vladimir Putin were particularly interesting given current times.

The former Croatian president immediately emphasised that she had been pointing out Russia's aggression against Ukraine for a long time and had previously warned of the possibility of a global crisis: "Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened. I think there was a certain naivety in people's thinking. What Putin wanted was quite clear in his 2000 political manifesto, which mentioned the restoration of Russia's economic power and position in the world. The events in Georgia and Crimea later made it known what would happen.''

However, unlike many international leaders who have described Vladimir Putin as a war criminal and lunatic because of his ongoing invasion of Ukraine; US President Joe Biden wondered if his Russian counterpart even had a soul; Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic chose her words carefully in response, Dagens Nyheter points out.

"He was normal and respectful"

“During my meetings with him, he was normal and respectful. We discussed bilateral issues, but also the regional situation across Southeastern Europe. We talked, among other things, about Agrokor, a company that was majority owned by Russian banks and was threatened with collapse and the creation of a crisis in Croatia. In that, but also in some other regional issues, Putin was constructive and provided a solution.

But there were areas in which we didn't agree, and on a very deep level, and that included, of course, NATO enlargement,'' said Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, adding that during numerous meetings with Putin, they'd talk for hours about various topics, including sport.

However, Dagens Nyheter didn't fail to mention that Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, while she was the Croatian president, during her visit to Moscow in 2018 during the World Cup, handed Putin a jersey of the Croatian national team with his name on it. The photos show them both smiling with the red and white jersey in between them, writes the Swedish daily, and reports Index.

For more, make sure to check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Putin: Relations Between Russia and Croatia Progressing

ZAGREB, January 16, 2019 - Russia respects Serbia's choice to join the European Union and is not trying to impose an artificial choice, either Russia or the EU, Russian President Vladimir Putin has told Belgrade media, adding that his country has many friends in the Balkans and that Serbia has a special place among them as a strategic partner.

Russia "knows and understands how complicated the Balkans and its history is, but has always considered this region as one for constructive cooperation," Putin was quoted as saying in an interview with Politika and Večernje Novosti ahead of an official visit to Belgrade on Thursday.

"When we talk about the situation in the Balkans, a serious factor of destabilisation is the policy of the US and some Western countries which is aimed at strengthening their domination in the region," he says, mentioning NATO's strikes against Yugoslavia in 1999, Kosovo's separation from Serbia and the "illegitimate recognition" of Kosovo's independence, "dragging Montenegro into NATO", and forcing Macedonia's accession to NATO and a change of its name contrary to the will of its citizens.

"Russia has many friends here, among which the strategic partner Serbia holds a special place. That's why helping to strengthen regional security and stability is our unconditional priority," Putin says, adding that Moscow pushes for "respecting the rights and interests of Balkan countries and nations, for respecting international law."

He says "the relations with Slovenia and Croatia are developing progressively, regardless of the fact that the dialogue between the EU, of which they are member states, and Russia is experiencing hard times."

He recalls that Russian and Croatian leaderships held several meetings last year and points out that economic relations have improved. "Trade is growing, with Slovenia it went up by almost 10% for three quarters in 2018 and with Croatia by 27%. Last year, Russia and Slovenia successfully organised seasons of culture, and a big Hermitage exhibition was organised in Zagreb, dedicated to the 50th anniversary of brotherly ties between Croatia's capital and Saint Petersburg."

Speaking of Russian-Serbian trade, Putin says it was 2 billion dollars in 2017 and that it continued to increase last year, and that Russian investments in Serbia's economy have exceeded 4 billion dollars. Cooperation with Gazprom Neft has enabled Serbia's NIS oil industry to become a leader on the Balkans energy market, he adds.

Putin says Serbia might be part of the TurkStream natural gas pipeline as a client and as a transit state to Europe given that Gazprom is considering various options of extending the land transit line to Europe, one of them being Bulgaria-Serbia-Hungary with a connection to the gas distribution centre in Baumgarten, Austria.

He says the European Commission's position will be taken into account when the Russian gas delivery route is finally defined. "We believe the EU member states interested in Russian gas should receive the EU's guarantee that plans to extend TurkStream won't be thwarted by an arbitrary political decision in Brussels."

Putin was also quoted as saying that Moscow "highly appreciates the Serbian leadership's firm commitment to keeping the country's neutrality" and that for years it "has been helping to strengthen Serbia's defence capabilities" through weapons deliveries and military equipment upgrades, which it will continue to do.

Putin says the Kremlin was "surprised by the EU's quite passive response" to the Kosovo parliament's decision "to transform the Kosovo security forces into a real army," which he says Kosovo Serbs saw as a "direct threat to their security."

"That move creates the serious risk of the situation in the region becoming strained. It is hardly in the EU's interest to close its eyes before such unilateral actions which grossly breach international law, notably if Brussels counts on continuing to fulfil its obligation as mediator in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina," Putin was quoted as saying.

He sees NATO expansion as a legacy of the Cold War and as a wrong and destructive military and political strategy. "NATO is trying to boost its presence in the Balkans. But thereby it is only renewing the division lines on the European continent," he says, adding that all that does not lead to stronger stability but "less trust and growing tensions in Europe."

More news on the relations between Croatia and Russia can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Russian President Putin Awards Order of Friendship to Zagreb Mayor Bandić

The only other Croat to receive the honour is footballer Ivica Olić.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Pope Francis, Trump, Putin and Others Congratulate Croatia’s Statehood Day

ZAGREB, June 24, 2018 - On the occasion of Croatia's Statehood Day, observed on June 25, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović has received congratulations to all Croatian citizens from numerous statesmen, including Pope Francis, US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the heads of several European states, her office said on Sunday.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Putin Ready to Visit Croatia under One Condition

Despite earlier rumours, it is highly unlikely that Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump will meet in Croatia.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Prime Minister and President at Odds over Invitation to Putin?

ZAGREB, March 22, 2018 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday commented on President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović's invitation to Russia's President Vladimir Putin to visit Croatia, saying that questions about whether the invitation was appropriate should be directed at the president.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

President Again Congratulates Putin, Invites Him to Croatia

ZAGREB, March 22, 2018 - Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović who congratulated him on the election victory and once again invited him to visit Croatia, the Kremlin press office said in a press release Thursday.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Croatian President Congratulates Putin on Election Victory

ZAGREB, March 19, 2018 - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović was the first Western leader on Monday to congratulate Vladimir Putin on his re-election as President of the Russian Federation.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Sberbank Warns Croatian Government: ''You're Seriously Jeopardising Creditor's Rights''

Sberbank sends a firm warning to the Government of Croatia.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

President Meets with Putin in Sochi

The long-awaited visit to Russia is underway

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