Putin hits back at G7 leaders

Vladimir Putin has hit back at Western leaders who mocked his macho image this week, saying it would be “disgusting” to see them strip off.

It comes after leaders at the G7 summit poked fun at the Russian president’s tendency to pose for topless photos.

But Mr Putin suggested his counterparts needed to cut out on alcohol and do more sport.

He also rejected comments from the UK’s Boris Johnson that he wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine if he was a woman.

At a press conference, Mr Putin said this was “not correct” – arguing Margaret Thatcher had “decided to start hostilities” in the Falklands War.

Mr Putin has been pictured shirtless several times in Russian state media, including whilst riding a horse, carrying a hunting rifle, and going fishing.

The pictures have been widely interpreted as the Russian president seeking to project a sense of masculinity that appealed to many Russians.

At the G7 summit in Germany earlier this week, Mr Johnson took a swipe at him, joking the leaders should take their clothes off to “show that we’re tougher than Putin”.

The British prime minister also suggested the leaders “show them our pecs”, whilst Canada’s Justin Trudeau suggested “bare-chested horseback riding.”

Asked about the comments during a news conference in Turkmenistan, Mr Putin replied: “I don’t know whether they wanted to strip down to the waist or below the waist, but I think that it would be a disgusting sight in any case”.

Referencing the Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin, he added: “You can be a smart person and think about the beauty of your nails”.

He continued: “I certainly agree with this: everything in a person should be harmoniously developed, both soul and body.

“But in order for everything to be so harmonious, you need to give up alcohol abuse, other bad habits, work out, do sport”.

“The colleagues you mentioned, I know all of them personally – we are not having the best period in our relations, this is understandable.

“But nevertheless, they are all leaders, which means they have character. And if they want, they will certainly achieve the desired progress. -BBC

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