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G7 leaders mock shirtless Putin during summit lunch

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Various G7 leaders joined U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson in mocking Russian President Vladimir Putin ahead of a meeting on Sunday.

Johnson made the quip while gathered around a table with U.S. President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and others. The leaders are meeting for the G7 summit in Bavaria throughout this week.

“Jackets on? Jackets off? Shall we take our clothes off?” Johnson said, referencing the reportedly intense temperature of the room.

Trudeau suggested they keep the jackets on long enough to take pictures.

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President Joe Biden attends a working lunch with other G7 leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, left, French President Emmanuel Macron, right, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, front, in Elmau, Germany, Sunday, June 26, 2022. (Kenny Holston/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

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“We have to show that we’re tougher than Putin,” Johnson quipped.

“We’re going to get the bare-chested horseback riding display,” Trudeau added.

Johnson ribbed, “We’ve got to show them our pecs,” while Von der Leyen interjected, “Horseback riding is the best.”

Biden did not weigh in on the jokes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin rides a horse during his vacation outside the town of Kyzyl in Southern Siberia on Aug. 3, 2009.

Russian President Vladimir Putin rides a horse during his vacation outside the town of Kyzyl in Southern Siberia on Aug. 3, 2009.
(Alexey Druzhinin/AFP via Getty Images)

In public photos, Putin has long sought to portray himself as a skilled athlete and outdoorsman.

The exchange came hours after the Biden administration accused Russia of using torture and electrocution in its invasion of Ukraine on Sunday. Biden has repeatedly called for Putin to face a war crimes trial.

A White House statement marked the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. 

“Any instance of torture is one too many, and yet every year countless victims suffer this brutal violation of their human rights and dignity,” Biden wrote. “This year we have been shocked by the horrific acts committed by Russian forces in Ukraine, including multiple, credible reports of torture such as beatings, electric shocks, and mock executions.”

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“In Mali and Burkina Faso, terrorist groups have been documented to have massacred and tortured local populations, while in Mali and Central African Republic, Kremlin-aligned Wagner mercenaries have reportedly employed similar cruel and unlawful tactics,” he added.

Ukrainian authorities are prosecuting roughly 16,000 cases of alleged war crimes by Russian forces.

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