A former Trump advisor on Russia recalled how Putin smelled odd and neither ate nor drank at dinner

Russian leader Vladimir Putin “really could have done with glasses,” according to Fiona Hill, a former advisor on Russia during the Trump administration.

  • Former Trump advisor Fiona Hill recalled her encounter with Vladimir Putin over dinner.
  • She observed that Putin smelled “like he had stepped out of some special preparatory bath.” 
  • She claimed that Putin never ate or drank at dinner, and used cards with huge words on them.
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Fiona Hill, an advisor on Russia under former President Donald Trump, has described what it was like sitting next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at dinner, including the odd smell he exuded.

Hill made the remarks while speaking on BBC Sounds’ “Desert Island Discs” program, during which she recounted her experience being seated within touching distance of the Russian leader.

“I took in the suits, one of the finely tailored suits, the way that the little vein pulses on the left-hand side of his face,” Hill said on the episode, which aired on May 8.

Besides noticing Putin’s “very expensive watch,” Hill also observed that the Russian leader “really could have done with glasses” because he used cards with huge words on them.

“I could read them all, cards telling him who was who and what he should say and things like this,” she recalled.

Hill also observed that Putin “didn’t eat or drink anything” during the meal.

Above all, however, Hill also said she took note of the Russian leader’s smell.

“Now, this sounds really bizarre, but I could smell that he was freshly laundered. He wasn’t wearing cologne, but it was almost like he had stepped out of some special preparatory bath or something, into the moment,” Hill said. 

She added that Putin appeared to be “all in command” of the image he projected in front of others. 

“I thought: ‘Wow, look at this,'” Hill said. “All of this is staged. Every little element of this is staged. This is a performance.”

She said Putin was also “not much of a conversationalist” and that he “barely gave her a glance” throughout the meal.

Hill is best known for having served in the Trump administration as an advisor on Russia. In recent months, she has weighed in on multiple occasions about the former president’s interactions with Putin. 

In November, Hill said that she thought Trump envied Putin because he wanted to rule the US “as he pleases.” In January and February, Hill also voiced her views on Russia’s then-brewing invasion of Ukraine, saying that Trump likely emboldened Putin during his term, and made the US look weak to Russia. 

In April, Hill claimed that Trump began to resemble Putin during his time as president, in terms of “political practice and predilection.”

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