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Putin says Western leaders would look 'disgusting' with their shirts off after the Russia leader was mocked over bare-chested pics

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin rides a horse during his vacation outside the town of Kyzyl in Southern Siberia on August 3, 2009.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin rides a horse during his vacation outside the town of Kyzyl in Southern Siberia on August 3, 2009.Alexsey Druginyn/AFP via Getty Images
  • Putin said Western leaders would look "disgusting" topless.

  • The Russian leader said they needed to stop abusing alcohol and play sports.

  • This came in response to Western leaders' mockery of Putin over images of him riding a horse while shirtless.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is apparently not pleased with Western leaders for taunting his penchant for topless equestrianism.

After video from the recent G7 summit showed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mocking the Russian leader for riding a horse while bare-chested, Putin responded that it would be "disgusting" to see Western leaders with their shirts off.

"I don't know how they wanted to get undressed, above or below the waist," Putin said while visiting Turkmenistan, per the Associated Press. "But I think it would be a disgusting sight in any case," he said.

Putin said that to foster a good physical appearance it's "necessary to stop abusing alcohol and other bad habits, do physical exercise and take part in sports."

At the G7 summit — which Russia was excluded from after initiating hostiles against Ukraine in 2014 — Johnson joked that he and other leaders should take their clothing off to "show that we're tougher than Putin."

Joining in on the jocular commentary, Trudeau said, "We're going to get the bare-chested horseback riding display."

Putin, now 69, has spent years trying to cultivate a macho image, which has included taking shirtless photos on his vacations to Siberia. Amid Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, there's been rampant speculation about Putin's health. But there's no credible evidence that he's unwell.

Russia's 4-month-long war in Ukraine has pushed tensions between Moscow and the West to historic heights. The US and its European allies have imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia over the war, while sending Kyiv a slew of military and humanitarian aid. The war has also begun to reshape the security landscape of Europe, pushing Sweden and Finland — historically neutral countries — to join NATO.

After initially expressing objections to enlarging the alliance by adding the two Nordic countries, Turkey at a NATO summit in Madrid this week said it would no longer stand in the way. NATO then formally invited Finland and Sweden to join, marking one of the most significant consequences of Russia's war in Ukraine to date.

Though Putin has railed against NATO enlargement for years, and has partly blamed the alliance for his aggression toward Ukraine, he downplayed the additions of Finland and Sweden.

"We don't have problems with Sweden and Finland like we do with Ukraine," Putin said in Turkmenistan this week, per The Guardian. "If Finland and Sweden wish to, they can join. That's up to them. They can join whatever they want."

But the Russian leader also warned, "If military contingents and military infrastructure were deployed there, we would be obliged to respond symmetrically and raise the same threats for those territories where threats have arisen for us."

Read the original article on Business Insider