The Russian president was in Tehran, Iran, when he was made to wait for 50 long seconds in front of the assembled press before Recep Tayyip Erdoan appeared and offered him a handshake.
In the video, which has gone viral on social media, Putin, 69, can be seen shuffle from side to side, looking unimpressed. As Erdoan gets closer, Putin extends his hands by his sides, as if to say, “About time, mate.”
After Putin left Erdoan waiting before a meeting in Moscow in 2020, the moment has been described on Twitter as’sweet payback’ and a ‘taste of his own medicine.’
Putin arrived in Iran on Tuesday, July 19 for a visit aimed at strengthening ties with regional heavyweights as part of Moscow’s challenge to the US and Europe in the midst of its war in Ukraine.
In only his second trip abroad since Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine in February, Putin is meeting with Erdoan and Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, about the region’s pressing issues, including the Syrian conflict and a UN-backed proposal to resume Ukrainian grain exports to alleviate the global food crisis.
Putin is attempting to strengthen ties with Tehran, a target of US sanctions as well as a potential military and trade partner.
According to the White House, Russian officials visited an airfield in central Iran at least twice in recent weeks to review Tehran’s weapons-capable drones for possible use in Ukraine.
Erdoan has attempted to mediate a peaceful resolution to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as well as to facilitate negotiations to unblock Ukrainian grain traffic through the Black Sea.
Turkey, a NATO member, has not imposed sanctions on the Kremlin, making it a much-needed partner for Moscow. Turkey, which is dealing with runaway inflation and a rapidly depreciating currency, also relies on the Russian market.
The gathering demonstrates Russia’s international clout to its domestic audience, even as the country becomes increasingly isolated and embroiled in conflict with the West.