World Leaders in Sochi – The Attending and the Absent
Dozens of world leaders will attend Friday's opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, while some key figures will be absent.
The most notable absentees will be US President Barack Obama, UK PM David Cameron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Despite not explicitly stating so, their absence is considered as a form of boycott towards Russia's anti-gay legislature.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe will be among the high-ranking guests at the ceremony.
Among the EU countries, Italy will send PM Enrico Letta, while the Netherlands their king, Willem-Alexander. Bulgaria's PM Plamen Oresharski will also attend the opening, while President Rosen Plevneliev will be at the closing ceremony.
Controversial Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who is facing a tough battle against protestors at home, will most likely be in Sochi, and meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko, who is a passionate ice hockey fan (like Putin himself), will most likely make an appearance in Sochi.