IN PICS: Berlin brings in 2020 with fireworks and winter bathing

Berlin brought in the New Year with a dazzling display of fireworks over the Brandenburg Gate, with the Berliner Sea Dogs later taking their first icy dip of 2020.

IN PICS: Berlin brings in 2020 with fireworks and winter bathing
Revellers in Berlin were treated to a lavish fireworks display over the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: Paul Zinken/dpa
The lavish public fireworks more than made up for this year's partial ban on the general public firing rockets. Here's a photo of the fireworks over the Brandenburg Gate. 

Photo: Paul Zinken/dpa

…and here's another photo of the display as seen over the Oberbaum Bridge. 

Photo: Paul Zinken/dpa

So many people crammed into the central celebration area that the gates were closed at 8pm for safety reasons.

Photo: Jörg Carstensen/dpa

Performers included the English boy band East 17, songwriter and DJ Kerstin Ott, pop star Frank Zander and the Swedish rock band Mando Diao.
Here's a video of the East 17 performance…
…and here's Mando Diao. 
A crowd dispersal vehicle from the German federal police on the ready in a street near the New Year's Eve party at the Brandenburg Gate. 

Photo: Christophe Gateau/dpa

After the celebrations, the streets were strewn with plastic glasses and bottles. 

Photo: Christophe Gateau/dpa

The Berlin municipal cleaning company BSR began the clean-up job early on Wednesday morning. 

Photo: Christophe Gateau/dpa

Soon afterwards the Berliner Sea Dogs gathered to take their first cold water bath of the new year. 

Happy New Year! 

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Russia announces no New Year’s greetings for France, US, Germany

US President Joe Biden, France's Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will not be receiving New Year's greetings from Russian leader Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin said on Friday.

Russia announces no New Year's greetings for France, US, Germany

As the world gears up to ring in the New Year this weekend, Putin sent congratulatory messages to the leaders of Kremlin-friendly countries including Turkey, Syria, Venezuela and China.

But Putin will not wish a happy New Year to the leaders of the United States, France and Germany, countries that have piled unprecedented sanctions on Moscow over Putin’s assault on Ukraine.

“We currently have no contact with them,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“And the president will not congratulate them given the unfriendly actions that they are taking on a continuous basis,” he added.

Putin shocked the world by sending troops to pro-Western Ukraine on February 24.

While Kyiv’s Western allies refused to send troops to Ukraine, they have been supplying the ex-Soviet country with weapons in a show of support that has seen Moscow suffer humiliating setbacks on the battlefield.