New York: Vladimir Putin’s recent picture caked in makeup, apparently to mask a black eye, has raised some speculations.
Journalists feverishly speculated that the Russian premier possibly took a punch during a judo session or even had a facelift after he was slathered in concealer during a visit to Kiev.
"Ukrainian, Russian and Western journalists ... talked only of one thing: How did the Russian prime minister get a black eye?" the New York Post quoted a business reporter at the Kommersant daily newspaper, as saying.
“Could it really be the result of some tough sparring? While it was carefully covered up, it was noticeable to everyone without exception."
While some leaders regularly wear makeup for televised meetings, Putin always stayed barefaced in the past, journalists said.
Putin arrived for talks with Ukrainian leaders in a "bad mood" and with "something like a big bruise on his left cheekbone. He also had on his face a very noticeable swelling," reported Ukrainian television channel TCH.
"It was all badly covered up with makeup."
Ukraine’s Levy Bereg weekly speculated that Putin could have had cosmetic surgery. "Did Putin have a facelift?" it asked in a headline.
The Russian premier could also have had teeth extracted, it added, "or maybe he had an unfortunate judo session."