Putin receives Serbia's top state decoration

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić has presented his visiting Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin with the Order of the Republic of Serbia of the First Degree.

Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug

Nikolić said during the ceremony that Putin was awarded for exceptional contribution to developing and affirming peaceful cooperation and friendly relations between Serbia and Russia.

Addressing him in Russian, Nikolić said:

"Dear brother Vladimir, the Serb people are proud that you wear the highest Serbian order."

Putin expressed his gratitude, and added that he did not think he deserved the recognition with any great deeds:

"I accept this decoration as a sign of respect and love that Serbia has for Russia and for the Russian people."

Putin then said he wished to assure Serbia that relations between the two countries would develop in the future:

"I wish to assure you that Russia, as it did in the past, will accept Serbia as a greatest ally and will do everything to further develop relations."

Speaking about cooperation, he said he hoped it will be of help in solving all the problems and conflicts from Serbia's past.

The top Serbian state decoration that was presented to Putin today was awarded in February 2013, with a decree signed by Nikolić.

The Serbian president at the same time gave the Order of the Republic of the Second Degree to 11 other leaders from around the world.

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