Russian officials have threatened a Swiss newspaper with legal action after it published an image of President Vladimir Putin as a clown.
The lead image featured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as Iron Man next to Putin with a clown nose and colorful face paint.
His intention appears to have been to illustrate the type of images used, rather than to claim that the newspaper or its editors view Putin as a clown.
The Russian Embassy in Switzerland responded with a letter to the newspaper’s editor, describing itself as “extremely outraged” by the image.
The letter argued that free speech was no excuse for posting “insults and falsehoods”.
This took particular offense to the rainbow colors on Putin’s face, citing his hostility towards LGBTQ people.
He also took issue with what he called the article’s portrayal of Putin as a war criminal, a common accusation among Ukrainians, human rights observers and Western officials.
The post ended with a reference to Swiss defamation laws and said officials “reserve the right…to request Swiss law enforcement” to take action regarding the image.