French President Emmanuel Macron and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, met in Kyiv.
The awkward photo of Macron and Zelenskyy has become an instant internet meme
The photo shows Zelenskyy appearing not to reciprocate Macron’s seemingly enthusiastic hug.
French President Emmanuel Macron swoops in for a warm hug, but his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy appears less than enthusiastic.
That’s what it looks like in a photo of the two leaders, which has since become an instant internet meme.
AFP photographer Ludovic Marin, who took the photo in Kyiv last week, said that Macron was saying something in Zelenskyy’s ear at the time. The two had just concluded a joint news conference alongside other European Union leaders.
“Why is Zelensky looking at us? I don’t know,” Marin commented on the photo, per AFP. “It’s true that there’s a difference in the way they look which is very striking.”
Social media were quick with their jokes about the seemingly awkward moment.
Imagining Macron’s words, Tanya Kozyreva, a Ukraine-based journalist, tweeted: “Me talking to him doesn’t mean anything, I’ve always loved you.” Her joke referenced how Macron has held regular phone calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Your face when he tells you “me talking to him doesn’t mean anything, I’ve always loved you” pic.twitter.com/1kqlerhOMh
— Tanya Kozyreva (@TanyaKozyreva) June 16, 2022
“Find yourself someone who looks at you they way Macron looks at Zelenskyy,” another Twitter user wrote.
Find yourself someone who looks at you they way Macron looks at Zelenskyy pic.twitter.com/RFYUPL2rRQ
— Maxim Greenberg (@maxvcg) June 16, 2022
“Now I understand why Pres. Putin has such a long table,” another person tweeted in reference to pictures of Putin and Macron sitting at opposite ends of a 13-foot-long table during a February meeting in Moscow.
Maria Zakharova commented of the joint photo of Elensky and Macron.
— Jacque Line (@MissJacque_line) June 17, 2022
The photo incident was not the first time the internet has been intrigued by Macron’s interactions with other foreign leaders.
In 2017, the internet went wild over a white-knuckled handshake that Macron shared with then-President Donald Trump. The following year, Macron reportedly shook hands with Trump so firmly that it left an imprint on the latter’s hand.
@ Insider’s Waiyee Yip