The spotlight of the international stage has not appeared to keep Vladimir Putin awake. As Ukraine’s national team entered the Winter Olympic Stadium during opening ceremonies, the Russian president appeared to nod off.
Cameras found Putin with his eyes shut and leaning back in his seat as the Ukrainian delegation of athletes marched into the stadium under the sound of their national anthem, according to the UK Independent.
When the Russians entered the stadium later, Putin was alert. Putin stood and saluted as his countrymen entered Beijing National Stadium.
The world leader’s momentary slumber came at a moment of increasing tension in Eastern Europe as Ukraine braces for what some suspect may be the second Russian invasion in Ukraine in a decade. (RELATED: Bloomberg Issues Apology After Reporting That Russia Invaded Ukraine)
Putin positioned about 130,000 troops around the Russian-Ukrainian border prior to the Olympic ceremonies. This action by the Russian leader provoked an expansion of the American military presence in Poland.
The first U.S. troops reinforcing NATO allies in Eastern Europe amid a Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s border arrived at Rzeszow military base in Poland https://t.co/oiylAIYbb9 pic.twitter.com/EGRkm5KjSi
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 5, 2022
President Biden and the Pentagon rebuked Putin’s aggression toward Ukraine and ordered that a thousand troops already present in Europe be “temporarily” repositioned in Romania.
In a joint statement, both countries said they “oppose further enlargement of NATO” and called on the alliance to abandon its “Cold War approaches.” (From @NewsHour) https://t.co/hlM78UPIA7
— PBS (@PBS) February 5, 2022
These tensions between Russia and the United States come amidst a demand from Putin that NATO not expand to include Ukraine and a fruitful meeting between Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Following their meeting, the duo released a joint statement that declared China’s support for Russia’s opposition to expand NATO.