Biden and Putin showdown begins with awkward photo op

Biden and Putin showdown begins with awkward photo op
Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden (Image: AP)

[Ed. – No food will be served, but Putin will have Biden for lunch.]

Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin have begun their summit at a villa on Lake Geneva with a very awkward photo opportunity punctuated by stilted chat, minimal eye contact and with aides shooing the press away.

The two men arrived at the summit within a few minutes of each other: Putin, after a last-minute arrival by air and motorcade; Biden by driving from his nearby hotel, having arrived Tuesday.

Biden extended his hand first as the pair shook hands — a marked contrast to the elbow bumps at the G7 — and they smiled for the cameras outside the Villa de La Grange before heading inside.

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During a photo-op in the library, the US President grinned while photographers jostled to capture the historic meeting.

‘It’s always better to meet face to face,’ Biden said, flashing a big smile.

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