Vladimir Putin stood a substantial distance from greater than 20 new international ambassadors to Russia in scenes paying homage to the coronavirus pandemic, apparently blaming “sanitary causes”.
At a ceremony within the Kremlin, the Russian president accepted the credentials of the ambassadors, who included Britain’s newest envoy to Russia, Nigel Casey.
Mr Putin gave a speech by which he stated he hoped relations between London and Moscow would enhance.
“Allow us to hope that the state of affairs will change for the higher within the pursuits of our two nations and peoples,” he stated.
Footage confirmed the ambassadors listening from the opposite facet of the room to the lectern the Russian chief stood behind.
Based on information reviews, Mr Putin instructed the envoys: “Sadly, for sanitary causes, we can’t discuss extra, socialise.
“I hope that higher occasions will come, not solely in politics but in addition in healthcare, and we will achieve this.”
Mr Casey reportedly instructed the Kremlin “ending the human struggling” brought on by Mr Putin in Ukraine was Britain’s precedence.
Talking in Russian, he stated: “Sustaining relations with the Russian authorities and the Russian individuals stays necessary to the UK, maybe in the present day extra necessary than ever.
“Selections taken by Russia matter not just for the UK, however the entire world.
“Few of the problems, presently dealing with us, are extra necessary than ending the human struggling brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
The gap between the Russian chief and the ambassadors was paying homage to the distance between Mr Putin and Emmanuel Macron when the French president travelled to Moscow in February final yr.
The 2 leaders sat at reverse ends of an exceptionally lengthy desk and Mr Macron reportedly refused a Russian request to undergo a COVID test so as to cease Moscow from acquiring his DNA.
Equally, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz additionally discovered himself sitting on the different finish of the desk after refusing to take a COVID check.