He revels in his hard man image. So it should come as no surprise that Russian President Vladimir Putin is hoping to catch some judo at the Olympics.
The Kremlin yesterday gave its strongest indication yet that the former KGB officer turned politician – who is himself a prolific judo practitioner – would travel to London when it informed correspondents in Moscow that they should apply for accreditation. A final decision is expected to be made on Monday. If Putin does travel here it is likely Prime Minister David Cameron will try to seek a one on one meeting to pressure Moscow over its continued support for the Assad regime in Syria. Relations between London and Moscow have been frosty given Russia’s steadfast refusal – along with China – to censor Damascus.
Foreign secretary William Hague, meanwhile, is facing a frenetic two weeks of diplomatic too-ing and fro-ing with numerous bilateral meetings penned into his diary. The Independent understands that one to one meetings will be held with representatives from Panama, Kosovo, Lebanon , China, Haiti, India and Qatar over the next few days alone.