- Putin will hold fiery discussion of Syria with Pope Francis, who criticised him
- Italian media have reported Putin could grant special status to Berlusconi
- Former PM has been handed several jail terms and faces another trial
Russian president Vladimir Putin will meet the Pope today - amid claims he is planning to name scandal-mired Silvio Berlusconi as Russia's ambassador to the Vatican.
Mr Putin will hold private talks with Pope Francis about the Syrian conflict, months after the Pope sent him an angry letter criticising the G20's failure to provide more aid.
Now it has been claimed Mr Putin is set to grant Berlusconi diplomatic immunity - despite him being convicted of sex with an underage prostitute and facing another trial over bribery claims.
Cosy: Berlusconi and Putin are firm friends, despite both being controversial figures on the world
stageIt would hand Berlusconi several privileges including a right to travel - something his numerous convictions have forced him to give up.
The 77-year-old has been fighting a string of criminal convictions since he left office in 2011 and claims he is a victim of a campaign by the judiciary.