Russian President Vladimir Putin fired back at Western leaders who mocked his bravado on Thursday, saying his counterparts would look “disgusting” shirtless.
Putin made the comment days after Western leaders meeting at the G7 summit riffed on Putin’s penchant for broadcasting his bare chest to the world on Sunday.
“I don’t know how they wanted to get undressed, above or below the waist,” Putin told reporters. “But I think it would be a disgusting sight in any case.”
“It’s necessary to stop abusing alcohol and other bad habits, do physical exercise and take part in sports,” he added.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson kicked things off while gathered around a table with President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and others.
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“Jackets on? Jackets off? Shall we take our clothes off?” Johnson joked, referencing the reportedly intense temperature of the room.
U.S. President Joe Biden, center, attends a working lunch with other G7 leaders to discuss shaping the global economy. Clockwise from left, Fumio Kishida (covered), Prime Minister of Japan, Ursula von der Leyen (covered), President of the European Commission, Charles Michel, President of the European Council, Mario Draghi, Prime Minister of Italy, Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister of France, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, US President Joe Biden and Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom sit at the first working session in Castle Elmau, in Elmau, Germany, Sunday, June 26, 2022. The Group of Seven leading economic powers are meeting in Germany for their annual gathering Sunday through Tuesday. (Kenny Holston/The New York Times via AP, Pool)
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Trudeau suggested they keep the jackets on long enough to take pictures.
“We have to show that we’re tougher than Putin,” Johnson quipped.
“We’re going to get the bare-chested horseback riding display,” Trudeau added.
Johnson ribbed, “We’ve got to show them our pecs,” while Von der Leyen interjected, “Horseback riding is the best.”
Biden did not weigh in on the jokes.
In Putin’s public photos, the Russian leader has tried to portray himself as a skilled athlete and outdoorsman.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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