Vladimir Putin flew into the Middle East to greet UAE officials, after he bizarrely snubbed several top diplomats from Europe, including Britain’s ambassador to Russia.
The despot said he could not greet Nigel Casey, the UK’s top representative in Russia, and other top foreign diplomats in Moscow when he formally accepted their credentials on arrival in Russia as he had COVID, choosing to keep a distance of at least 70ft as he made a speech on Tuesday.
Despite his worries about ‘sanitary’ issues, he flew to the UAE on a rare visit with a packed schedule outside the former USSR.
Putin told the envoys yesterday, including the new ambassadors of Germany and Australia: ‘Unfortunately, for sanitary reasons, we cannot talk more, socialise.
But just a day later, he arrived in the United Arab Emirates – where huge sums of Russian money has poured since the war started.
Vladimir Putin (pictured) was today seen flying to the UAE on a rare visit with a packed schedule outside the former USSR
He gave a speech to several top diplomats at the Kremlin, but refused to be near them and did not socialise with them
But that same day, Putin was seen in close contact with several people in a Russian school
He was seen with schoolchildren, and told them a bizarre story about his mother Maria
Putin was seen shaking hands with President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan upon arrival at the airport in Abu Dhabi today.
Putin is also due to arrive in Saudi Arabia later today, where he is said to be meeting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the first time since October 2019.
Both countries have said they do not recognise the arrest warrant for child abduction during the invasion of Ukraine, issued by the International Criminal Court.
He is understood to be meeting with the oil states to discuss the OPEC group of leading oil producers, as well the Israel-Hamas war and his invasion of Ukraine.
Before he flew out, Putin was also seen getting close to dozens of people, including children, on a trip to a school in Pyatigorsk in Vologda region.
On his trip, he revealed how his mother Maria had ordered him into the corner of their cramped Soviet flat for being naughty when he was three or four.
Putin is also due to arrive in Saudi Arabia later today, where he is said to be meeting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the first time since October 2019
Putin was seen in close proximity to dozens of people, including children, on a trip to a school in Pyatigorsk in Vologda region
He made the diplomats stand in a line 70ft away from him, and refused to socialise with them afterwards
On his trip, he revealed how his mother Maria had ordered him into the corner of their cramped Soviet flat for being naughty when he was three or four
Diplomats from around the world were in the Kremlin to greet the despot yesterday
Many have accused Putin of employing body doubles so his enemies don’t know where he truly is at any time
Bizarrely he called it his ‘fondest children memory’.
The dictator said: ‘It’s a pretty personal thing, I’ll just tell you the beginning of the story.
‘My mother put me in a corner, I don’t even remember why, and for some time she walked around, looking menacingly at me.
‘She asked: ‘Are you going to ask for forgiveness or not?’
‘I will tell you one-to-one how this story ended. I’ll just leave some parts out.
‘Anyway, it ended with her kissing me, pulling me out of that corner, and that was the end of the story.
‘But the way she did it, that’s a separate conversation.’
At the same event, he signed a book – with a signature that appeared similar but not identical to his previous elaborate autographs.
This amid a flurry of rumours that a body double – or doppelgänger – of Putin is often used when the Russian president is required to meet people close up.
Putin was seen meeting his education minister Sergei Kravtsov who proposed extending propaganda to nursery schools.
Patriotic movement Eaglets of Russia – already with 2.5 million primary school-aged children – should feature in kindergartens, he said.
‘We propose to scale this project to preschool age,’ said Kravtsov.
‘Experts, methodologists and scientists say…Eaglets should be implemented in kindergartens.’
Putin told him: ‘You are right, of course, education begins not only in kindergarten, but of course earlier, probably at the birth of a child.’
In another session, Putin met Stavropol Governor Vladimir Vladimirov.
MailOnline has contacted the UK’s Foreign Office for comment.