This from AFP:
" [When president Putin was] Asked at a news conference [following his meeting with PM Tymoshenko] to comment on Saakashvili's current visit to Kiev, the Russian strongman premier known for his bad boy image and sharp tongue said the Georgian leader and his host, Ukraine's fiercely pro-Western president Viktor Yushchenko, should meet without ties.
"The two presidents would be better off holding a dinner -- if they are to hold it -- without ties. Ties are pricey these days... Well, you understand what I mean," he said, eliciting laughter from officials and journalists.
"Yushchenko's guest will scarf up his tie."
Putin was alluding to the widely-circulated footage in which Saakashvili put a tip of his tie into his mouth and chewed on it as he waited to be interviewed last year.
LEvko says sure, the Saakashvili video clip is funny, but Putin's stuttering George Bush-like delivery of a rather thin 'anyekdot' was so bad it's embarassing to watch.
Every comic knows: "It's not the jokes that are funny...it's the way you tell 'em." It's the second time this week Putin was maybe out of his comfort zone..
The coincidence of the Yushchenko-Saakashvili meeting, and that of the much earlier planned Intergovernmental Ukrainian-Russian economic co-operation commission meeting attended by prime ministers Tymoshenko and Putin, was unfortunate, to say the least, and may even have been deliberately contrived by the two presidents just a few days ago.
The attempt to "pi** on her parade" was an unneccessary diversion for PM Tymoshenko in what would have been difficult talks with Putin in any case.