Putin's friends and enemies sent him piles of melons, a gift certificate for a tractor, and death wishes for his 70th birthday

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) examines a tractor simulator while visiting a tractor plant of Rostselmash, in Rostov-on-Don, 1060 km. south of Moscow, Russia, February 1, 2018.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) examines a tractor simulator while visiting a tractor plant of Rostselmash, in Rostov-on-Don, 1060 km. south of Moscow, Russia, February 1, 2018.Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images
  • Vladimir Putin observed his 70th birthday Friday amid his military's ongoing setbacks in Ukraine.

  • Two friendly world leaders gifted the Russian president a gift certificate for a tractor and piles of melons.

  • Ukrainians, however, marked the occasion on social media with far less enthusiasm.

What do you get one of the world's richest men for his 70th birthday as he wages an unprovoked war against his neighbor? Russian President Vladimir Putin found out Friday as his friends and enemies sent melons, a gift certificate for a tractor, and death wishes.

Putin observed the milestone birthday amid his ongoing war in Ukraine where, for weeks now, Russian forces have suffered defeats at the hands of advancing Ukrainian troops, who have liberated thousands of square miles of territory in the country's eastern and southern regions.

To mark the occasion, Tajikistan's President Emomali Rahmon gifted the Russian leader with multiple pyramids of melons, according to media reports. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, meanwhile, presented Putin with a gift certificate for a tractor, the Associated Press reported.

According to the report, tractors have been an industrial staple in Belarus for decades, and Lukashenko said he uses a model similar to the one he gifted to Putin. However, the gift may carry different weight in the context of the war in Ukraine, where tractors have been used to tow away captured Russian tanks.

Tajikistan and Belarus are two of Russia's few remaining allies, and all three are part of the broader Commonwealth of Independent States, which is a collection of ex-Soviet states that was formed in the early 1990s. The trio is also half the membership of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a regional military alliance.

Lukashenko in particular is a close partner of Putin. Their companionship has even raised concerns at times that Belarus could become a direct party involved in the ongoing war in Ukraine. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) greets Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko (L) during the welcoming ceremony in Saint Petersburg, Russia, December 20, 2019.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) greets Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko (L) during the welcoming ceremony in Saint Petersburg, Russia, December,20,2019.Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

In contrast with Lukashenko and Rahmon, Putin's enemies did not approach his birthday with enthusiasm. Multiple Ukrainian officials took to social media to denounce the Russian leader on his birthday and slammed his actions, blaming him for the war's rising death toll.

Ukrainian hackers posted a note to the Collective Security Treaty Organization website, saying, "We want to congratulate Putin on his last birthday and wish him a 'comfortable' trip to The Hague," The New York Times reported.

Twitter users, meanwhile, flooded the comments of officials and media outlets and wished for his death.

 

Putin's birthday comes as Ukrainian forces continue to advance along the war's eastern and southern fronts, forcing Russian troops to retreat from their positions, leaving behind mountains of weaponry, equipment, and ammunition in their wake.

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