Play it again, Vlad! Putin delights Argentinian President with his accordion on visit to South American nation on eve of World Cup final.

Published: 23:14 EST, 12 July 2014 | Updated: 10:17 EST, 13 July 2014




Russia's Vladimir Putin appeared to have found his Latin rhythm during the second day of his tour of the region, as he played accordion for Argentina's President on Saturday.

The Russian President, who yesterday discussed politics with Fidel Castro and agreed to wipe clean billions of dollars in Cuban debt, spent only a day in Argentina.

During the visit he and President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner discussed Russian investment in the country and a nuclear deal before attending a state dinner.

Latin rhythms: Putin plays the accordion for Argentina's President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, during a state visit on Saturday

While at the presidential palace, Putin was pictured picking up an accordion while a delighted-looking Kirchner applauded.

The pair looked relaxed in each other's company during the official dinner, where they shared a toast.

Putin and Kirchner, who has been out of the public eye all week while recovering from a throat infection, were expected to use the official visit to sign a series of agreements, including cooperation on nuclear energy generation.


The official Russian state visit has been geared towards improving trade ties and influence in the region, which has been mostly sympathetic or uncritical of the Ukrainian crisis. 

Kirchner has accused the U.S. and Britain of double standards for criticizing a pro-Russian secession vote held in Crimea while backing a status referendum in the Falkland Islands, claimed by Argentina.

Toast: Putin and Kirchner raise their glasses during an official dinner, after meeting to discuss Russian investment

Ceremony: Kirchner leads Putin through the Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires on Saturday

However, there was some protest at the Russian involvement in Ukraine, with a crowd of about 150 gathering outside the presidential palace in Buenos Aires to protest during Putin's visit.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande urged Russia this week to use its influence on rebels in eastern Ukraine so that a meeting on a possible cease-fire can take place as soon as possible.

Merkel is due to watch her country's team play in the World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, the same day Putin is expected to be in the city.

As well as the protest against Russian involvement in Ukraine, several activists turned out to protest the country's anti-gay laws and prejudice.

Putin last year had approved a law that banned what Moscow called gay 'propaganda' reaching children, and same-sex marriages are not recognized in Russia.

Tour: Russia's President Putin was in Argentina as part of his six-day tour of Latin America

Cold War friends: Putin holds on to Fidel Castro's arm during a meeting with the revolutionary leader on Friday

'It's not only the government's problem but the Russian society, which discriminates against us. I have friends who have committed suicide because of this,' Marina Mironova said.

The 38-year-old teacher said she lost her job in Russia because of her sexual orientation, and is now seeking asylum in Argentina with her partner.

'We want to stay here and marry legally. There's freedom, nice people and the president is tolerant,' she said.

Argentina is the first country in Latin America to legalize gay marriage. Two Russian homosexuals married in Argentina earlier this year and are also seeking asylum.

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