Vladimir Putin made a move of disdain for Ukrainian athletes, watching the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics. Putin pretended to be asleep as the Ukrainian mission passed, amid fears of an impending invasion of his country, sparking the worst Cold War confrontation with the West.
The Russian president attended the opening ceremony, although the Russian mission has been ruled out due to doping. As the Ukrainian athletes passed, he sat with his arms crossed and his eyes closed for several seconds, which was also shown by the television lens.
Putin fell asleep during the opening ceremony of the Olympics. pic.twitter.com/Eplkr6QThd
– MRCTV (@mrctv) February 4, 2022
Russian athletes participate in the “Russian Olympic Committee” and can not use their country's flag in uniform, nor are they allowed to hear the national anthem when they win.
At the same time, a Russian Olympic official was filmed arguing with a Ukrainian official shortly before the ceremony, despite calls that such incidents should be avoided, as the Games symbolize peace and unity in an increasingly divided world.
They were standing and applauding Xi Jinping
Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping received a standing ovation from the crowd as he arrived to attend the ceremony, which was attended by 3,000 artists, Chinese soldiers and the national anthem.
Earlier, Xi blamed Putin for the Ukraine crisis, condemning in a joint document US influence in Europe and criticizing NATO's further expansion. At the same time, Washington and the “negative impact on peace and stability” in the Asia-Pacific region, namely the South China Sea and Taiwan, were criticized.
Another moment of tension occurred when the athletes from Taiwan entered the stadium with the flag of “Chinese Taipei”. Taiwan wants to be considered an independent state, but Beijing is talking about a breakaway province and threatening to reunite it by force. The team was going to boycott the games because of the name. The organizers told them they had to attend.
Putin took off his mask despite strict rules
Putin was one of the few foreign leaders to attend the Olympics, as most Western leaders staged a diplomatic boycott of human rights abuses and Muslim Uighurs in eastern Xinjiang province.
And while the ceremony took place in a security bubble due to coronavirus, as part of China's policy, Putin defied the hosts and appeared without a mask. At the same time, both Xi and everyone sitting in the VIP stand wore his mask.
The Flame lit in the Bird's Nest: The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics-Phantasmagoric images