'Let's show Putin our pecs': G7 leaders mock Russian leader for his topless pics

26 June 2022, 15:14

By Daisy Stephens

Boris Johnson joked about Vladimir Putin with fellow world leaders as they met at the G7 summit in Germany.

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The Prime Minister and Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau discussed the Russian leader and his history of being photographed without a shirt.

As the sun shone at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps, where the G7 leaders were meeting, Mr Johnson questioned whether they should keep their suit jackets on.

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Warming to his theme, he then added "shall we take our clothes off?", suggesting "we all have to show that we're tougher than Putin".

Mr Trudeau joined in, referring to a "bare-chested horseback ride" - Mr Putin was pictured shirtless riding a horse in 2009.

Mr Johnson then said: "We've got to show our pecs."

Putin has a habit of have photos taken with his shirt off
Putin has a habit of have photos taken with his shirt off. Picture: Getty

Boris Johnson has met his G7 counterparts at a summit in Germany.

Amid speculation about the appetite of Western leaders to continue to support Ukraine during a prolonged conflict, Mr Johnson said Vladimir Putin must not be allowed to "hack" Russia's neighbour apart with impunity.

Ahead of a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, Mr Johnson was asked whether France and Germany are doing enough over Ukraine.

The PM praised the Germans without mentioning France.

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"Just look at what the Germans alone have done," he said.

"I never believed in my lifetime that I would see a German chancellor stepping up in the way that Olaf Scholz has and sending weaponry to help the Ukrainians to protect themselves.

"He's made huge, huge strides. We have 4 per cent of our gas from Russia, in Germany it's 40 per cent.

"They're facing real, real pressures, they're having to source energy from elsewhere. But they're doing it. They're making the effort. They're making the sacrifice."

The G7 leaders are meeting in Germany
The G7 leaders are meeting in Germany. Picture: Getty

He said the Germans realise "the price of freedom is worth paying", despite the domestic consequences.

Mr Johnson added: "The consequences of what's happening for the world are tough, but the price of backing down, the price of allowing Putin to succeed, to hack off huge parts of Ukraine, to continue with his programme of conquest, that price will be far, far higher and everybody here understands that."

Mr Johnson's German visit is the latest leg of a series of international summits which have kept him out of the UK as questions mount over his leadership.

At the summit he urged Western allies to stand firm over Ukraine as he sought to put his domestic political difficulties to one side.

Mr Johnson was at a Commonwealth meeting in Rwanda as the Conservatives learned they had lost the by-elections in Tiverton and Honiton and Wakefield, and he is not expected to return to the UK until after a Nato summit in Madrid concludes on Thursday, meaning his ability to reassure wavering MPs - or snuff out Westminster plots against him - will be diminished.

But he will hope appearing on an international stage, focusing on the biggest war in Europe since the defeat of the Nazis, will persuade doubters that it is not the right time to consider a change in leadership in the UK.