Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have now officially met for the first time, according to a spokesperson for the Kremlin. The two shared a handshake at the G-20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, where world leaders have gathered for two days of talks on various global issues.
Until this point it has been unclear whether Trump and Putin had a relationship, with Mr Trump himself offering contradictory accounts of the matter during his candidacy for President of the United States. This is, however, the first time the two have officially met, although Trump did meet with high-ranking Russian officials Sergei Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office in May, with only an official Russian state media photographer for company.
Meetings have only just begun at the summit so it remains to be seen if anything will come of Trump and Putin’s official introduction, but the world is certainly watching as if it were the main event of the two day gathering. Members of Mr Trump’s campaign have been accused of colluding with Russia to undermine Hillary Clinton’s chances in the 2016 Presidential election, which is seen by some as a contributing factor to Mr Trump’s win. Mr Trump has denied any links between his campaign and Russia, though his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigned in early February after inconsistencies in his account of whether he discussed sanctions on a December phone call with the Russian ambassador were disclosed.
The G-20 so far has been marred by violent protests in the wake of the summit, with thousands coming to the city for an anti-capitalist ‘Welcome to Hell’ protest. Riot police were deployed as clashes turned violent, with cars being burned and water cannons being deployed on crowds to disperse the protestors. Negotiations and meetings between world leaders and the central banks will continue today and tomorrow, and leaders will then disperse upon its conclusion on 8th July.
Mr Trump is expected to be in Europe once again next week to honor the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron to celebrate Bastille Day with him on 14th July.