Feeling less anxious, Putin? Russian leader raises eyebrows by sidling up beside glamorous air hostesses – after sitting 20 FEET away from French President Macron ‘because he’s scared of catching Covid’
- Putin has been ridiculed in recent weeks for keeping his distance in meetings
- But yesterday, he saw no issue sliding up close to a group of air hostesses
- There was a stark contrast to his meeting with Emmanuel Macron last month
- Putin’s visit to Aeroflot training centre was to celebrate International Women’s Day, but was overshadowed by news that the airline will halt international flights
As a self-styled strongman, Vladimir Putin has been ridiculed in recent weeks for keeping his distance in meetings with his top generals and world leaders amid speculation he is terrified of catching Covid.
But yesterday, the Russian President saw no issue with sidling up close to a group of glamorous air hostesses – in stark contrast to his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron last month when both leaders sat metres apart at opposite ends of a long table.
Putin’s visit to the Aeroflot training centre near Moscow was ostensibly held to celebrate the upcoming International Women’s Day.
The Russian President gets up-close and personal for a photo with Aeroflot employees during his visit to Aeroflot aviation training complex outside Moscow on March 5, despite demonstrating concerns for social distancing when meeting heads of state and officials
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Moscow, Russia February 7, 2022
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz give a joint press conference following their meeting over Ukraine security at the Kremlin, in Moscow, on February 15, 2022
But it was overshadowed by Aeroflot’s announcement that it will halt all international flights – except to Belarus – from Tuesday.
The state-owned airline’s move comes amid fears Russian airlines will have their foreign-leased planes impounded as part of sanctions imposed by Western governments.
Despite the bouquets of flowers, Putin used his meeting with the air hostesses to liken the sanctions regime to a ‘declaration of war’.
Putin gives flowers to female flight crew of Russian airlines during his visit to the aviation training centre of PJSC Aeroflot on the eve of International Women’s Day
Putin speaks during his meeting with Aeroflot employees outside Moscow on Saturday
The Russian President is pictured sitting in the cockpit of an airplane simulator as he visits the aviation school outside Moscow today
Putin poses for a photo and congratulates female flight personnel ahead of International Women’s Day
‘But thank God it has not come to that,’ he added.
The Russian despot also warned that any attempt to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine would be seen as participation in the armed conflict.
Russia’s foreign ministry said the UK had chosen to move towards ‘open confrontation’ with Moscow with its sanctions.
The Kremlin vowed to impose its own measures to ‘undermine’ British interests in Russia.