Obama, Putin caught in awkward handshake at Peru summit

US President Barack Obama (L) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin (2nd-R) shake hands before an economic leaders meeting on November 20, 2016 in Lima. (AFP)

US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin were caught on camera sharing an awkward handshake on Sunday as an economic summit got under way in Peru.

The picture taken on Sunday showed both leaders in a strange handshake, with Obama seeming reluctant to greet his Russian counterpart.

Obama and Putin discussed Syria and Ukraine during a four-minute conversation at the start of the summit. It was their first known conversation since Donald Trump got elected.

They stood off to the side together momentarily with aides close by before shaking hands and then taking their seats around a table.

Although reporters present couldn't hear what they said, the White House said Obama encouraged Putin to uphold his country's commitments under the Minsk deal aimed at ending the Ukraine conflict.

The short interaction came amid intense speculation and concern about whether Trump's election might herald a more conciliatory US approach to Russia.

Under Obama, the US has enacted severe sanctions on Russia over its aggressive behavior in Ukraine and has sought unsuccessfully to persuade Moscow to stop intervening in Syria's civil war to help prop up Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Trump and Putin have already signaled they may pursue a less antagonistic relationship after Trump takes office in January.


Last Update: Monday, 21 November 2016 KSA 15:12 - GMT 12:12