x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 December 2017

Turkmen leader gets Putin a puppy for his birthday

Turkmenistan's president gives Vladimir Putin a puppy for the Russian president's birthday during talks in Sochi

Russian president Vladimir Putin, a dog lover, received a top breed puppy as a belated birthday gift on Wednesday from Turkmenistan's president, who is keen to recover lost Russian markets for Turkmen gas.

Russia, once the main buyer of Turkmen gas, stopped buying the fuel last year due to a price dispute.

China, with its growing appetite for energy, is now the main market for Turkmen gas.

Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, a flamboyant former dentist whose interests range from sports cars to noble horses, enjoys a personality cult and autocratic powers in his nation which sits on the world's fourth-largest natural gas reserves.

The two men held talks in Sochi, on the sidelines of a summit of ex-Soviet states.