G7 leaders joke about stripping to outdo bare-chested Putin

Leaders of the Group of Seven nations chuckled about stripping off their clothes for photographs on Sunday to outdo Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has often appeared shirtless in images disseminated by the Kremlin.

During the first day of the three-day G7 summit in the Bavarian Alps, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau could be heard on a video joking about their impending photoshoot.

“Jackets on? Jackets off? Shall we take our clothes off? ” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked other leaders sitting around a table. “We all have to show that we’re tougher than Putin.”

“We’re going to get the bare-chested horseback riding display,” Trudeau quipped, referencing a widely shared photo of Putin.

“There you go! There you go! We’ve got to show them our pecs! ” Johnson responded.

Putin’s predilection for going shirtless doing outdoors activities is part of his carefully crafted strongman image. The Russian president is also an accomplished Taekwondo practitioner.

Russia was kicked out of what was previously called the G8 in 2014 following its initial invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

The current G7 nations include the US, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, France, and Japan.

President Biden announced Sunday that the group will impose new import bans on Russian gold as a punishment for Moscow’s going invasion of Ukraine.

Biden spent Sunday morning meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and later participated in a working lunch with other leaders.

A White House readout of Biden’s meeting with Scholz indicated Ukraine was a main topic of conversation.

“The leaders underlined their commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as their continued provision of military, economic, humanitarian, and diplomatic support to help Ukraine defend its democracy against Russian aggression,” the White House readout said. “The leaders also discussed efforts to alleviate the impacts of Russia’s war in Ukraine on global food and energy security.”

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