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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Madam President, friends,
Welcome to the Kremlin.
First of all, of course, I would like to congratulate you on the successful performance of your national team at the World Cup.
President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (in Russian): Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: I am sure today we will see an interesting and exciting performance as well.
We have made every effort to provide all the necessary conditions for the players, including for your team. I think that our respective national teams played very well during their match – it was wonderful and very impressive, and brought joy to millions of fans.
Madam President, since our last meeting last year, the relations between our countries have been developing very successfully. For the first time since 2014, we observed a positive dynamics of trade growth last year. The same stable growth was observed in the first quarter of this year. Your economy has about $400 million of Russian direct investments. I hope this figure will grow.
We have a lot to talk about. We are very glad to see you.
President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (retranslated): Mr President,
I would like to express heartfelt thanks to you, not only personally and on behalf of the delegation that arrived with me, but also on behalf of all Croatian representatives of the national team, the Croatian team and all Croatian fans who are staying in Russia during the World Cup and feel totally at home.
Before we proceed to considering bilateral issues, I would like to say a couple of words as an avid football fan. I want to congratulate you on this World Cup being an example for the rest of the world of how such events should be organised, because you not only ensured the freedom of movement for football fans but also prevented any incidents or statements that can be seen as hate speech. This is a true example for everyone in the world. I hope that this World Cup will be cherished as such by people.
Mr President, I would like to once again thank you personally for inviting me. This is the third time I have visited Russia, and I would like to thank the receiving side for organising these trips. I feel very much at home here, and I am very pleased about the way I was welcomed in Nizhny Novgorod and Sochi. Our fans and I feel totally at home.
I am very pleased that our formal meeting today begins with a pleasant informal moment – an anticipation of Croatia's possible victory.
Let us proceed to more serious issues. Our meeting today is taking place at a special time, just between the latest NATO summit and your upcoming meeting with US President Donald Trump. This meeting is also taking place amidst important things happening in Russia-Croatia relations.