MOSCOW, December 17. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has had a phone conversation with Pope Francis, the Kremlin press service said on Saturday.
"Vladimir Putin wishes the pontiff a happy 80th birthday. He also noted his enormous personal contribution to the relations of Russia and the Vatican which have been raised to a qualitatively new level," the statement said.
"The Russian president and the pope have exchanged views on issues related to protection of Christians in areas of regional conflicts and to importance of constructive interfaith dialogue so as to preserve moral foundations in world affairs.".