After snubbing the Russian leader earlier in the week, President
The roughly 15-minute chat between the two leaders came at the Chateau de Benouville, the countryside estate where a coterie of foreign leaders, kings and
Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes confirmed the "informal" conversation, but did not offer details immediately.
Obama had signaled the encounter with his sometime rival was likely. Even as the U.S. and Europeans shut Putin out of meetings on Thursday, Obama watched his three closest allies book their own private session with the Russian leader. Earlier this week, Putin told reporters he was open to talking to the American president, but Obama said he preferred to keep it loose. He said he would see Putin at the lunch, but declined the formality of a so-called "bilateral" meeting.
The men showed no signs of warmth while under the watchful eyes of reporters on Friday, as they were corralled with the rest of leaders for a photo to mark the high-powered lunch on the historic day. They either kept at a distance – busy talking to others – or ignored each other when in close range. Obama spent time seeing to the 88-year-old queen. Putin and Obama were not seated next each other at the lunch in the grand neoclassical chateau.
The diplomatic choreography reflects a sort of pivot point in the crisis.
On Thursday, Obama called on Putin to engage in talks with President-elect
In one positive sign, Putin also talked with Poroshenko at the lunch. The two leaders spoke briefly, standing on each side of German Chancellor