Vladimir Putin “falls asleep” as Ukrainian team walks past at Winter Olympics

Putin at Winter Olympics

It all seems to have got a bit much for the Russian president (Picture: NBC)

Vladimir Putin has been caught on camera appearing to nod off during the Ukrainian national anthem.

The Russian president seemed to be napping when the nation’s athletes were introduced at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

Ukrainian competitors waved the flag in front of president Putin during the Beijing display amid dramatic tensions between the countries.

The moment may well have been one of high drama and Kremlinologists would have been watching closely for his reaction.

But when the camera cut away to the stands, president Putin’s eyes were shut and he appeared to suddenly come back around midway through.

Around 100,000 Russian soldiers are massed on Ukraine’s borders and fears are rising Moscow is planning a full invasion.

While most Western leaders have chosen not to attend the Winter Olympics, Putin and Chinese premier Xi Jinping have used the games as an excuse to reaffirm ties between the two.

Vladimir Putin "falls asleep" as Ukrainian team walks past at Winter Olympics

The Russian president appeared to be squeezing in a power nap during Ukraine’s section of the ceremony (Picture: NBC)

In a move which will worry the West, China and Russia proclaimed a deep strategic alliance on Friday to balance what they portrayed as the malign global influence of the United States.

In a joint statement, the two countries affirmed that their new relationship was superior to any political or military alliance of the Cold War era.

It said the ‘friendship between the two states has no limits, there are no “forbidden” areas of cooperation’ before announcing plans to work together in a host of areas including space, climate change, artificial intelligence and control of the internet.

The move to strengthen ties between Moscow and Beijing come after UK defense chiefs warned Russia may be planning to stage an incident to justify an invasion.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a photo prior to their talks in Beijing, China.

President Putin met with his Chinese counterpart and declared a deep alliance between the two countries (Picture: AP)

A spokesperson for the prime minister said: ‘I can’t comment on the specific intelligence but we have high confidence Russia is planning to engineer a pretext, blaming Ukraine for the attack in order to justify a Russian incursion into Ukraine.’

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed on Friday as ‘nonsense’ by the United States that Moscow was preparing a fake video as a pretext for starting a war in Ukraine, Russia’s RIA news agency reported.

US intelligence agencies believe Russia has formed a plan to use a fabricated video showing the graphic aftermath of an explosion targeting Russian people as a pretext for an invasion, Washington said on Thursday.

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