Putin seems to doze when Ukraine athletes enter during Winter Olympics opening ceremony, social media buzzes

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Social media users are speculating as to whether Russian President Vladimir Putin had fallen asleep during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing after he was seen on camera with his eyes closed.

Putin could be seen on camera during NBC’s broadcast of the winter games sitting by himself and appearing to briefly doze off according to some onlookers as Ukrainian athletes joined the ceremony.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking to the media during a joint news conference with Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban  (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking to the media during a joint news conference with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban  (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP)
(Yuri Kochetkov/Pool)

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BEIJING, CHINA - JANUARY 27: Ice Resurfacing Machine ice cleaning machines prepare the surface at the Capital Indoor Stadium on January 27, 2022 in Beijing, China. Beijing is preparing for the 2022 Winter Olympics which start on February 4th. 

BEIJING, CHINA – JANUARY 27: Ice Resurfacing Machine ice cleaning machines prepare the surface at the Capital Indoor Stadium on January 27, 2022 in Beijing, China. Beijing is preparing for the 2022 Winter Olympics which start on February 4th. 
(Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Putin’s Russia is currently involved in a tense standoff along Ukraine’s border with many in the international community believing he has plans to invade the neighboring country, perhaps imminently. 

Putin is the highest-profile guest at the Beijing Games following the decision by the U.S., Britain, and others not to send officials in protest of China’s human rights abuses and its treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.

Putin praised “unprecedented” close relations with China, in his opening remarks to Xi carried by Russian television.

Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng lights the torch before the start of the torch relay for the 2022 Winter Olympics at the Olympic Forest Park in Beijing on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022. 

Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng lights the torch before the start of the torch relay for the 2022 Winter Olympics at the Olympic Forest Park in Beijing on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Sam McNeil)

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Relations “are developing in a progressive way with a spirit of friendship and strategic partnership,” Putin said. “They have indeed become unprecedented.”

Associated Press contributed to this report

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