Russian President Vladimir Putin this week mocked Germany, saying it is getting pushed around by outside powers and increasingly lacks sovereignty. Putin said Wednesday according to an English translation in state media, "The Germans swallow all this because… they lack sovereignty. And some government leaders apparently lack sufficient professional skills to make adequate and professional decisions. Everyone knows who that is, they are being laughed at by the whole world."
He spoke the words on the very same day that the below spectacle played out, ironically enough, where German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was snubbed at the airport after landing in Doha for an official state visit to Qatar...
He was there for official talks with Qatari leaders in relation to several German nationals being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. German media correspondents were on the trip with him, and reported that Qatari officials may have been intentionally snubbing him upon arrival.
Below is Deutsche Welle's detailed description of what happened:
The sun shone. The red carpet had been rolled out. A military honor guard had assembled. Even Germany’s ambassador to Qatar, Lothar Freischlader, was on hand. The only problem, no Qatari official was in attendance to formally welcome German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Doha.
Arriving slightly ahead of schedule, Steinmeier waited in the blazing sun at the door of the Bundeswehr’s Airbus A350 for almost half an hour before Sultan al-Muraichai, Qatar’s minister of state for foreign affairs, arrived to receive Germany’s head of state.
Even with the delayed diplomatic formalities following al-Muraichai's arrival, Steinmeier departed the airport on time for his scheduled meeting with Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
While it's possible there was a legitimate mix-up based on Steinmeier's plane having arrived slightly early, the scene was highly unusual for a head of state.
Russian media has speculated that it may have been 'payback' for words issued by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in October. According to RT, she said at the time "We do not accept support for terror," and argued that Arab states like Qatar "have a special responsibility to put an end to this terrorism."
Qatar has long been seen as a supporter of Hamas, but it's a relationship not quite as out in the open as Iran's. At the same time, Qatar has been a diplomatic mediator with the West on the Gaza hostage crisis. Doha has long faced criticism in the West for its state support given to hardline Islamists, from Syria to Gaza.