Russia’s President Vladimir Putin was left humiliated as he was left standing alone, waiting for Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in front of a crowd of reporters in Iran ahead of talks to unblock thousands of tonnes of grain that are being blockaded by Russia in Ukraine’s ports. Footage shows an uncomfortable Vladimir Putin walking toward a chair and then awkwardly standing with his hands crossed around his belly, fidgeting, shifting his weight, and grimacing. He is also seen twisting his foot and apparently struggling with jerky leg movements that have already stoked speculation about the spasms being a symptom of Parkinson’s.
The Russian President waited for close to a minute until President Erdogan finally turned up and shook hands with Putin ahead of talks in Iran.
Experts and journalists took to Twitter to read what the one-minute wait means against the backdrop of the Ukraine war.
Bojan Pancevski, Wall Street Correspondent, said in a tweet: “Erdogan is giving Putin a taste of his own medicine (when western leaders still cared to see him, Putin systematically let them wait, sometimes for hours).”
Vladimir Putin has a reputation for keeping other world leaders waiting, according to Radio Free Europe.
The former German Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered an agonising wait of 4 hours and 15 minutes in 2014 – breaking the previous record held by the former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych who waited for 4 hours in 2012.
Other world leaders suffering the same fate include former US Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama, Pope Francis, Queen Elizabeth II, and former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Euan MacDonald, Editor-at-large for the New Voice of Ukraine website, agreed in saying Erdogan “gives Putin a small taste of his own ‘making you wait for me’ medicine”, adding in the same tweet: “Putin clearly hates it, but his disastrous war in Ukraine has diminished him even among other authoritarians – and it shows.”
Vladimir Putin has seen support erode around him since he launched his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
READ MORE: Putin sees WW3 threat in ‘attack on annexed Ukraine territories’
For now, it appears the Russian President can only rely on a handful of leaders such as China’s Xi Jinping, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, India’s Narendra Modi, and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa who met at an international summit in Osaka, Japan in late June.
They have so far avoided criticising Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
In another show of strength, Putin met Turkish and Iranian leaders in Tehran on Tuesday on his second foreign trip since late February when he launched the invasion of Ukraine.
Expressing his support for Putin against the West, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said: “If you did not take the initiative, the other side would have caused the war with its own initiative.”
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