Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has arrived in Moscow, where he will participate in the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup later on Thursday, the president's press service said.
"President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko arrived in Moscow, where today, at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, he will attend the opening ceremony and a match of the World Cup at the Luzhniki stadium," the press service said.
Apart from officials, the Belarusian leader was greeted at the airport by Zabivaka the Wolf, the official mascot of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
"Lukashenko played football with him a little and made several goals in an improvised goalpost. He also left an autograph on the ball and a wish saying 'Good luck to our Russian brothers!,'" the statement added.
According to the Kremlin, the FIFA World Cup opening ceremony will be attended — apart from Lukashenko — by more than 20 world leaders.
This includes (deep breath...) Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Abkhazian President Raul Khajimba, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov, President of the Presidium of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong Nam, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, President of Moldova Igor Dodon, President of Panama Juan Carlos Varela, Paraguay's president-elect Mario Abdo Benitez, President of Rwanda Paul Kagame, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and President of South Ossetia Anatoly Bibilov.