The world may be in shambles, but the leaders of the G7 summit managed to have a laugh—at the expense of Vladimir Putin and a 2009 photo of him riding a horse shirtless in the Siberian mountains.
The G7 summit is a gathering of leaders from seven of the wealthiest countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S., plus the EU president. As the distinguished members sat down to lunch on Sunday, the Daily Mail reported that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson started the cafeteria cracks, saying, “Jackets on? Jackets off? Shall we take our clothes off?” The embattled English leader continued on, saying, “We have to show that we’re tougher than Putin.”
CNN reported that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada then chimed in, joking that they could go on a “bare-chested horseback ride,” with Johnson quipping that they had “to show them our pecs.” President Biden did not appear to participate in the mockery.
Biden did, however, have some choice words for Putin unrelated to his exhibitionism. Russian forces hit residential buildings in Kyiv with missiles on Sunday morning, a move that Biden denounced as “barbarism.”
This year’s G7 conference will focus, at least in part, on simultaneously remaining united against Putin and addressing the war’s devastating economic impact, including rising food and gas prices. Biden announced that G7 leaders will ban gold imports from Russia, and the leaders will likely discuss tightening oil sanctions.
“A large focus of the G7 and the leaders are going to be, you know, how to not only manage the challenges in the global economy as a result of Mr. Putin’s war, but how to also hold Mr. Putin accountable,” John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communication at the National Security Council, said.
As G7 leaders meet in Germany’s Bavarian Alps through June 28, they will keep working through the world’s most pressing challenges. But maybe, just maybe, they’ll find the time to poke fun at a different photo of Putin. Perhaps the one of him falling down during a hockey match would make a worthy cocktail conversation?