U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, a veteran businessman and a former spy, shook hands on Friday ahead of the most highly anticipated face-to-face meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
Trump has said he wants to find ways to work with Putin, a goal made more difficult by sharp differences over Russia’s actions in Syria and Ukraine, and allegations Moscow meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The two men met during an informal gathering of G20 leaders at the start of the summit, with the U.S. president reinforcing their handshake by patting the Russian leader on the arm.
In a video of the encounter, Trump was later shown patting Putin on the back. Both men smiled. They are to hold a formal meeting later in the day at 3:45 p.m. local time, when every facial expression and physical gesture is likely to be analyzed.
“I look forward to all meetings today with world leaders, including my meeting with Vladimir Putin. Much to discuss,” Trump wrote in a tweet on Friday. “I will represent our country well and fight for its interests!”
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