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Putin Jumps on a Harley to Praise Motorbikes

**FILE**  In this June 21, 2008 file photo, a woman rides her Harley Davidson during the

**FILE** In this June 21, 2008 file photo, a woman rides her Harley Davidson during the "Hamburg Harley Days 2008," in Hamburg, Germany. Harley-Davidson Inc. said Wednesday, July 16, 2008, its second-quarter profit fell sharply as a weak economy, record-high gas prices and lower consumer confidence continued to hobble the iconic motorcycle maker's shipments and sales. (AP Photo/Fabian Bimmer)

SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (AP) - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin leaped on a Harley Davidson and roared into an international biker convention in southern Ukraine.

Around 5,000 bikers from Europe and beyond gathered in Sevastopol for the annual festival Saturday on Ukraine's Crimea peninsula.

Putin, in Ukraine for talks with the country's new Russia-friendly leadership, had his black shirt sleeves rolled up as he motored toward a stage along a dusty road on the three-wheeled bike.

In sunglasses, black jeans and black fingerless gloves, the Russian prime minister clearly reveled in the moment, smiling and waving to the enthusiastic crowd.

From a podium, he described the motorbike as "the most democratic form of transport" and praised the bikers' free spirit.

He also urged them to unite in promoting safe driving.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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