The National:

VLADIMIR Putin has hit back at Boris Johnson for mocking the Russian president’s penchant for topless photo opportunities.

Putin was responding to comments made by leaders at the G7 summit where they said they had to “show off their pecs” and prove that they were “tougher than Putin”.

They went on to mock the Russian president’s proclivity to be seen topless on horseback when they said should follow Putin’s example with a similar photo op.

And now Putin has had his say on the thought of a topless Johnson, saying what many might have been thinking, as he labelled the mental image “disgusting”.

The Russian president said: “I don't know exactly how far they wanted to get undressed, above or below the waist. But I think, either way, it would be a disgusting sight.”

He added that the G7 leaders lacked “machismo”, which probably says more about Putin’s career as a war criminal than it does about the G7 leaders’ sense of humour.

And any room for doubt on the animosity between the two groups was completely eradicated when the Russian defence ministry-controlled TV channel Zvezda, published Putin’s comments under the file name “DISGUSTING NAKED OLD MEN”.

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While busy with his illegal invasion of Ukraine, Putin still had some advice for Johnson which might have been a pointed reference to his role in the partygate scandal.  

He said that to look good “it's necessary to stop abusing alcohol and other bad habits, do physical exercise and take part in sports”.

Putin, who holds a black belt in judo, went on to reference famous poet Alexander Pushkin when he added: “One might be all about business, yet still take care of the beauty of one's nails. I certainly agree with that.”

Well, when it comes to war criminals, beauty would either be in the eye of the beholder or not at all.