Vladimir Putin went after teenage environmentalist campaigner Greta Thunberg, claiming that she is being used.
The Russian president said that the 16-year-old Swedish teenager should go and explain to developing countries why they should continue to live in poverty while speaking at an energy conference in Moscow. Chairing a session called Energy Partnership for Sustainable Growth, he said that he may disappoint the public, but he doesn’t share the common excitement about the speech by Greta Thunberg.
He noted that no one has explained to Greta that the modern world is complex and different and people in Africa or in many Asian countries want to live at the same wealth level as in Sweden.
He called out Thunberg to go and explain to developing countries why they should continue living in poverty and not be like Sweden. He also stated that he believes those who are “using children” to further their cause should stop doing that because young people shouldn’t be involved in such “extreme situations”.
Putin added that when someone is using children and teenagers in personal interests, they only deserve to be condemned.
He noted that he believes Greta is a kind and very sincere girl, but adults must do everything not to bring teenagers and children into some extreme situations.
Thunberg has become somewhat of a superstar over the past year and she’s an iconic figure of the fight against climate change, with millions of people inspired by her weekly protests outside the Swedish parliament a year ago.
This all led to Thunberg speaking at the UN conference in New York City last month in which she held her iconic speech.
Vladimir Putin isn’t the first world leader to call out the young campaigner for her words. She was “mocked” by US President Donald Trump on Twitter, and Canadian Member of Parliament Maxime Bernier claimed that she was alarmist and mentally unstable.
The 16-year-old, however, hasn’t let the criticism take her down, and said that she believes the fact world leaders are making light of the situation showed that her message had become “too loud to handle”.