Donald Trump pats Putin on the back during their first meeting at G20 summit

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have met face to face for the first time.

The two leaders were pictured shaking hands at the G20 summit in Hamburg, and the U.S. President then gave his Russian counterpart a pat on the back.

 

Mr Trump notably did not employ the aggressive handshake technique he has become known for.

The footage of the meeting was posted on the German Government’s Facebook page.

First official meeting

The two men will hold a longer meeting later on today, where they will attempt to repair damaged ties following Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election.

Their sit-down meeting, which may tackle a number of foreign policy issues from the conflict in Syria to Russia’s provocations in Ukraine, will be overshadowed by investigations into whether Mr Trump’s campaign co-ordinated with Moscow during last year’s presidential election.

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Mr Trump, during a speech in Warsaw on Thursday, urged Russia to “cease its destabilising activities in Ukraine and elsewhere and its support for hostile regimes – including Syria and Iran – and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defence of civilisation itself”.

But much of the focus – in Washington and Moscow – will be on whether Mr Trump broaches the issue of Russia’s meddling in the election.

Before the meeting on Friday, the US president tweeted that he was looking forward to the visit, saying there was “much to discuss”.

During a news conference in Poland on Thursday, he again refused to accept the conclusion by multiple US intelligence agencies that Russia interfered to try to help him win last November.

He said it could have been Russia, but that other countries could have meddled too.

“Nobody really knows for sure,” Mr Trump said.

He is under intense scrutiny over how he handles the sit-down with the Russian president, a former intelligence agent known to come to meetings well-prepared.

The White House has scheduled 35 minutes for the meeting, raising questions about how much ground the leaders can realistically cover.

World leaders are meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg

G20 protests

The summit has been marred by violent protests, with anti-globalisation activists setting dozens of cars on fire and trying to block leaders’ delegations from entering the grounds.

Dozens of police formed lines in different parts of the city and used water cannons to force away protesters from key streets.

Some were physically moved hundreds of metres from a sit-in in front of the first security checkpoint near the summit grounds.

Fire crews extinguish a burning car in the street during the ‘Welcome to Hell’ anti-G20 protest march. (Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)

Police later tweeted that all leaders made it safely to the city’s convention centre where the summit is taking place. None of the activists managed to push into the no-go zone police had established around the summit.

The leaders, including German host Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, are discussing issues like fighting international terrorism, but also tackling more contentious topics like climate change and international trade.

Activists took to the streets to protest against globalisation, economic inequality and what they see as a lack of action on climate change.

Protesters shot firecrackers at a police helicopter and only narrowly missed it, officers said. Windows at the Mongolian consulate were broken and the wheels of a car belonging to the Canadian delegation were punctured.

Hamburg police, who already have 20,000 officers on hand to patrol the streets, skies and waterways, demanded reinforcement from around the country.

But clashes on Friday have so far paled in comparison to the more violent skirmishes on Thursday night.

Police said at least 111 officers were hurt during Thursday’s clashes, one of whom had to be taken to hospital with an eye injury after a firework exploded in front of him.

Twenty-nine people were arrested and a further 15 temporarily detained.

Protesters kept US first lady Melania Trump from joining the spouses of world leaders at the summit.