The Russian President made the trip to Iran – his first outside Russia since the Ukraine war began five months ago – to meet the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran on Tuesday. But Vladimir Putin also held talks with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a desperate bid to find a solution over how to unblock thousands of tonnes of grain that are being blockaded by Russia in Ukraine’s ports. Excruciatingly awkward footage has gone viral showing Putin waiting for nearly a minute in a room full of journalists for Erdogan to arrive for the crunch talks.
The Russian leader is seen walking towards the chair laid out for him in front of the Russian flag before awkwardly standing with his hands crossed around his stomach.
He fidgets, shifts his weight on several occasions and appears to make random movements with his mouth.
Nearly a minute after entering the room, Putin sees President Erdogan and briefly outstretches his arms before the two leaders make the customary handshake.
Joyce Karam, senior correspondent at The National, suggested it may haver been “sweet payback for Erdogan” after he was humiliated by Putin in March 2020 when he was made to wait for two minutes before greeting his Russian counterpart.
She tweeted a video of the most recent awkward exchange between the pair, and wrote: “Those 50 seconds that Erdogan made Putin wait, looking frazzled in-front of cameras say plenty of how much has changed after Ukraine.
“It’s also a sweet payback for Erdogan who in 2020 was humiliated by Putin as he made him wait two minutes in a power game play in Russia.
“2022 in Iran, many tables have turned.”
But many others took to Twitter to express fears Putin will not take too kindly to being embarrassed in such a manner and could look to take some type of revenge.
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They commented: “My goodness. He used to be in utter trained control of his body language.
“He looks so stressed and as if he feels the reins are slipping out of his control and he’s close to panic.
“I hope this doesn’t make him more dangerous, but he looks like he’s scenting defeat real hard.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and blockade of its ports has stalled exports, leaving dozens of ships stranded and some 20 million tonnes of grain stuck in silos at the Black Sea port of Odesa.
Moscow has said it is not to blame for worsening the food crisis, instead pointing to the crippling sanctions from the West for slowing its own food and fertilizer exports and Ukraine for mining its Black Sea ports.
On Wednesday, President Erdogan told reporters on a return flight from Tehran: “An agreement emerged from the talks in Istanbul last week on the general outline of the process under the U.N. plan. Now, we want to tie this agreement to a written document.
“We hope the plan will begin to be implemented in the coming days.”