Russian President Vladimir Putin condescendingly called a US journalist “beautiful” and “pretty” after accusing her of not understanding his explanation about a stand-off with Europe over gas supplies.
Mr Putin became irritated with CNBC’s Abu Dhabi-based anchor Hadley Gamble as she pressed him for answers about whether Russia was weaponising its stranglehold on natural gas supplies to Europe.
During the interview, held before a live audience during Russian Energy Week in Moscow, Mr Putin said the claims were “complete nonsense” and that Russia was a reliable energy partner.
“Beautiful woman, pretty, I’m telling her one thing. She instantly tells me the opposite as if she didn’t hear what I said,” he told the audience.
“Well, I’ll repeat it for you once again.”
Ms Gamble responded to say she had heard his answer, adding that it had taken “long enough” for Russia to increase supplies.
A clearly vexed Mr Putin said: “Listen, you’ve just said ‘You don’t supply gas to Europe through pipelines’. You are being misled.
“We are increasing supplies to Europe. Gazprom by 10 per cent. Russia has increased supplies by 15 per cent. We are increasing, not decreasing supplies.”
“Did I really say something so hard to understand?” he added.
Some in the West believe the Kremlin is taking advantage of soaring oil and gas prices to convince European regulators to approve the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
The Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom has completed the contentious project that aims to double the natural gas supply from Russia to Germany, and bypass Poland and the Ukraine.
In July, the United States and Germany reached a deal to allow Nord Stream 2’s completion without US sanctions on German entities.
The Independent has approached CNBC and Ms Gamble for comment.
In an Instagram post after the interview, Ms Gamble wrote: “Mr President what are you so afraid of?”
In a separate interview with Ms Gamble, Mr Putin, 69, hinted he could remain in power for two more six-year terms until 2036, when he would be 84.
When asked is he would seek further terms, Mr Putin said: “Yes the Constitution allows me to do it, to run for the next term. But there were no decisions made about it yet.”
Ms Gamble anchors CNBC’s Capital Connection from Abu Dhabi where she regularly interviews world leaders and international CEOs.
According to her online profile, she anchors the network’s coverage from the World Economic Forum in Davos each year and was the first western journalist to interview senior Saudi officials after the death of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
“Hadley is also a passionate advocate for women in the workplace and their advancement across the Arab world,” her profile states.
She graduated from the University of Florida in Miami and is originally from Knoxville, Tennessee.