Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Slovenia on a diplomatic tour that some see as part of Moscow's campaign to ease European Union sanctions. Nathan Frandino reports.
Amid a diplomatic backdrop, Russian President Vladimir Putin receives a standing ovation during a visit to Slovenia on Saturday. He was visiting a small town to commemorate the 100th anniversary of a chapel, built in honor of 300 Russian military prisoners who died in World War One. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "This church has become a symbol of friendship between the people of Russia and Slovenia, the symbol of striving for peace, cooperation and prosperity." Putin avoided tackling political topics in his speech, though his visit is seen as part of Russia's campaign to ease European Union sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. The Kremlin sees Slovenia and its president, Borut Pahor, as its ally in that campaign. The two later discussed security and unity in Europe before attending another ceremony for Russian soldiers. As a monument to the soldiers was unveiled, protesters gathered outside the Russian Embassy to condemn Putin and what they called his attack on democracy. (SOUNDBITE) (Slovenian) UKRAINIAN WOMAN LIVING IN SLOVENIA, INNA DEMCHENKO FROHLICH, SAYING: "We want to warn Europe that we must fight for democracy, that no one should be passive about it." And it's a fight that these protesters are promising to keep up.