“jackets? bulletproof vests? Shall we take off our clothes? asked Prime Minister Boris Johnson, ostensibly asking how leaders should wear a casual photo before the start of a lunch meeting.
“We all have to show that we are stronger than Putin,” the British leader joked at the summit site in Schloss Elmau, Germany.
Putin was expelled from the group in 2014 after Russia invaded and annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region.
“We’re going to get a show of riding topless,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau quipped, referring to the Russian leader’s penchant for posting pictures of himself outdoors — sometimes shirtless, including on horseback.
“Here you are! There you are! We have to show them our muscles!” Johnson added.
From arm wrestling to martial arts, Putin’s hobbies have sought to display physical strength and power Central to his personal brand.
Over the years, the Russian leader has often been photographed posing with his torso on full display, as fodder for a host of online memes.
In one photo taken in 2009, Putin appeared shirtless riding a plane horse in the mountains. In 2018, more outdoor-themed footage emerged, which showed Putin, stripped from his waist Fishing in Siberian Lake. There were pictures Putin the swimmer And Putin’s basking.
When asked by a reporter in 2018 about his fondness for “half-naked” photos, Putin defended the photo collection.
“When I’m on vacation, I see no need to hide behind the bush, and there is nothing wrong with that,” Putin told an Australian journalist.
As Putin’s comment continued, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered a stab at diplomacy on Sunday, turning the conversation from provoking the Russian leader to an enthusiastic endorsement of chivalry.
She said, “Ah, yes.” “Riding is the best, though!”
President Biden—who remained silent during the meeting—finally, at the behest of his fellow leaders, turned his chair and smiled for the photo.
Biden chose to wear bulletproof vests.
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