Russian President Vladimir Putin treated his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to an ice cream as the world leaders took in the sights at the Moscow International Aviation and Space Salon (MAKS 2019) on Tuesday.
The pair took a break from inspecting a range of Russian aviation hardware to indulge their sweet tooths at the sun-drenched Zhukovsky International Airport.
After selecting the treats, the woman manning the counter informed the presidents that the bill was 210 rubles ($3.20). The moment prompted a light-hearted exchange between the presidents as Erdogan wondered aloud who would stump up the cash.
“Will you pay for me too?” he asked. “Yes, of course I’ll pay,” the Russian leader responded, “You’re our guest after all.”
Putin handed the woman a 5,000 ruble note and asked her to give the change to Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, who was standing nearby, “to support the development of aviation,” as the group burst into laughter.
Ice cream at MAKS is becoming something of a tradition for Putin, who previously treated a host of officials to the frozen snack at the 2017 version of the massive air show.
Russia using ice cream as a secret diplomatic weapon isn’t exactly a new tactic. Earlier this summer President Putin gifted Chinese President Xi Jinping a box of Russian ice cream for his birthday. Xi had once confessed his love for the Russian desserts, telling media in 2016 that he asks for them every time he visits.
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