Russian President Vladimir Putin laughed off a protest against him by topless women in Germany on Monday, joking that he liked what he had seen while sharply rebuffing German criticism of his human rights record.
Three members of the women's rights group Femen, which has staged protests against Russia's detention of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot around Europe, disrupted his visit to a trade fair in the German city of Hanover focusing on Russian business.
They stripped to the waist and shouted slogans calling the Russian leader a "dictator" before being covered up and bundled away by security men.
"Regarding this performance, I liked it," grinned Putin at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, adding that it had helped to promote the trade fair though he suggested that the security men could have been "gentler".
"I did not catch what they were shouting, I did not even see if they were blondes, brunettes or chestnut-haired ... I don't see anything terrible in (the protest), though I think ... it is better to be dressed if one wants to discuss political matters." Read the full story.