Under the impact of the war in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated his 70th birthday with heads of state from former Soviet republics. Conflicts that need to be resolved are brewing not only in Ukraine but also in other former Soviet republics, Putin said on Friday in the Constantine Palace in St. Petersburg.

For example, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan were present at an “informal summit” of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Armenia and Azerbaijan are enemies and were recently at war over the conflict region of Nagorno-Karabakh in the South Caucasus. Regarding the war of aggression against Ukraine that he launched himself in February, Putin said that “tragic events are indeed taking place there.” Hundreds of towns and villages were destroyed and thousands of people, including hundreds of children, were killed in the Russian invasion.

Putin also received the ruler of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, who is making the country’s military bases available for the attacks on Ukraine. While Lukashenko presented Putin with a voucher for a “hand-assembled” tractor from domestic production and Tajikistan’s head of state Emomali Rahmon brought mountains of watermelons and honeydew melons as a gift, human rights activists from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine were announced in Oslo as the new Nobel Peace Prize winners .

The head of the Kremlin celebrated his birthday in his hometown on the Gulf of Finland not only with Lukashenko, who is notorious as Europe’s last dictator, but also with numerous other heads of state who are internationally criticized for violating human rights. In addition to Aliyev from Azerbaijan and Rahmon from Tajikistan, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also attended the meeting.

In addition to numerous congratulations on his anniversary, Putin also received spiritual support. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, called for prayer for the Kremlin chief, who is also the supreme commander in the war against Ukraine. “God has put you at the helm of power to perform a service of special importance and great responsibility for the fate of the country and the people entrusted to you,” Kirill said in his telegram of congratulations.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also called him on his birthday and congratulated him, as the Kremlin announced. The presidential administration meticulously listed who else congratulated. The list, which also included North Korean ruler Kim Jong-Un, remained manageable.

The head of the Russian republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, who ruled with an iron hand and was criticized for the most serious crimes against humanity, recorded a long congratulatory video in the North Caucasus. Putin has played a key role in the history of the Chechen people and freed the region from terror, said the 46-year-old. The head of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, added his congratulations with the line: “As long as there is Putin, there is Russia”.