The highly anticipated visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin materialised today at the International Judo Federation (IJF) World Championships here in Baku.
It was reported that Putin would be visiting Azerbaijan on an official visit, and he was due to arrive on Wednesday (September 25) to meet with the country's President Ilham Aliyev.
As Honorary IJF President and an eighth-degree judo black belt, Putin was also expected to accompany Aliyev and IJF President Marius Vizer at the World Championships.
Yesterday an increased security presence suggested that the Russian President's arrival was imminent, but he never arrived.
Today, Putin joined the Azeri President, the IJF President and the President of Mongolia, Khaltmaagiin Battulga, in the box to the left of the press tribune as the event concluded.
The officials were announced and shown on the big screen and received a warm welcome from the crowd.
President Putin was congratulated on the performance of the Russian mixed team who made it to the semi-finals.
During the lunch break, a convoy of about 40 cars drove down the main street outside the venue, which had been closed off to the public.
It was assumed that President Putin was in one of the black cars as he was not present for the afternoon session where the Russian team won bronze.
Putin has regularly attended foreign judo events, timing a trip to Budapest last year to coincide with the 2017 World Championships.
He also attended the judo events at the London 2012 Olympic Games alongside then British Prime Minister David Cameron.