CHICAGO (CBS) — U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had their first face-to-face meeting Friday at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. The highly-anticipated meeting comes one day after Trump downplayed Russia’s meddling in the 2016 Presidential Election but criticized Russia’s “destabilizing behavior” in Ukraine. Here are five takeaways from the high-stakes meeting:
1. President Trump called it “an honor to be with” President Putin. “We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia and the United States,” Mr. Trump said. Putin echoed Trump’s remarks, pronouncing himself delighted to meet Trump in person.
2. The world leaders reached a ceasefire deal on Syria, marking the first joint effort to stem Syria’s six-year civil war. The ceasefire, which impacts southwest Syria, is scheduled to take effect Sunday, July 9. In an audio-only press briefing after the meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called it the “first indication of U.S. and Russia being able to work together in Syria.”
3. The two leaders connected. Tillerson told reporters they “connected very quickly,” marveling at their “positive chemistry” during the more than two-hour meeting. “There was just such a level of engagement and exchange that neither one of them wanted to stop.” First lady Melania Trump attempted to help the men wrap up the meeting and was unsuccessful.
4. In addition to Syria, the presidents discussed North Korea, Ukraine, cyber-terrorism, and ISIS. Tillerson concluded after the meeting, “I would say the Russians see it a little differently than we do.”
5. Their “lengthy exchange” about Russian interference in the 2016 Election yielded clashing accounts. “The President pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement. President Putin denied such involvement” so they moved to a different topic, said Tillerson. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gave a conflicting account of the confrontation, telling the press that Trump accepted Putin’s denial of Russian meddling and assured him that “some circles continue to pump up the topic of Russian interference in the American elections though they can’t prove it.”
-Wren Hagge for CBS Chicago.