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Putin mocks G7 leaders' lack of 'machismo' and says PM would look 'disgusting' topless
30 June 2022, 12:57 | Updated: 30 June 2022, 14:40
Russian President Vladimir Putin has hit out saying Western politicians lack "machismo" and said it would be ‘disgusting’ to see Boris Johnson or any of the other G7 leaders topless.
Putin, who frequently poses topless and appears in staged 'action man' photos, hit back at western leaders after they mocked his athletic exploits at the G7 summit.
As they sat down for talks, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson jested that G7 leaders could take their clothes off to "show that we're tougher than Putin" amid tensions over Moscow's military action in Ukraine.
Canadian premier Justin Trudeau joked that western leaders could try to match Mr Putin's naked torso pictures with a "bare-chested horseback riding display," one of the Russian leader's widely publicised athletic adventures.
Speaking to reporters, Putin, speaking during a visit to Turkmenistan, retorted that, unlike him, western leaders abuse alcohol and do not do sports.
"I don't know how they wanted to get undressed, above or below the waist," he said.
"But I think it would be a disgusting sight in any case."
He noted that to look good "it's necessary to stop abusing alcohol and other bad habits, do physical exercise and take part in sports".
Putin's comments come as Johnson was giving a press conference following a NATO summit in Madrid.
Johnson has said that "myths" need to be debunked about the role of Nato in the Ukrainian conflict, as Western leaders offered robust backing to Ukraine in the war against Russia.
The Prime Minister said that the impact of the invasion has been felt around the world.
He said that just as his Government is focusing on helping people ease the cost-of living, so too was the Commonwealth, the G7 and Nato "determined to work together to ease the pressure around the world".
But he warned that the West needed to "explode some myths" about its role in the conflict.
"We have to explode the myths of Western sanctions are in some way responsible for western price spikes.
"It is the Russian invasion that has caused the shortages of food."
He said it was a "myth" that Nato had responsibility for provoking the conflict, pointing to the "peace-loving" nations of Finland and Sweden joining the organisation.
He said that the "final myth" is that when it comes to a crisis like this, western democracy "do not have the same staying power".
UK ministers have stepped up their personal attacks on the Russian president in recent days.
Mr Johnson was asked at the Nato summit if he believed Putin himself was evil. "I think it probably follows that if you are what you do, then certainly," said the PM.
"It's been an appalling act of unwarranted aggression against the innocent population."
His comments come after Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Mr Putin had "small man syndrome" and was a "lunatic".
Mr Johnson had earlier suggested the Russian leader's invasion of Ukraine was an example of "toxic masculinity" and a female president would not have made the same mistake.
Mr Wallace told LBC Radio: "Well I certainly think President Putin's view of himself and the world is a small man syndrome, macho view."
He added "you rarely hear the phrase small woman syndrome, you always hear small man syndrome".
"I think he's certainly got it in spades," he said.
"But I think the real challenge here is the Russian system's view that somehow some states are lesser than others, their rights don't count. If they want to paint themselves into a new history, they seem to think the way to do that is through violence and invasion.
"And I think that's something to worry about."
He also mocked Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
Mr Wallace said: "To be fair there is that lady, the spokeswoman in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she's like a comedy turn, she does her statement every week, threatening to nuke everyone or doing something or another.
"She's definitely a woman... She's a lunatic like he is, so I'll leave it to that."