On Friday, world leaders descended on Normandy, France, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. That gathering included Russian President Vladimir Putin, setting up a series of, well, let’s call them awkward interactions with his fellow world leaders.
President Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and new Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko were all on hand for the celebration. Perhaps in memory of a time when Russia and the West played on the same team, French President Francois Hollande also invited Putin to the ceremonies, which included a ceremonial luncheon and a dance performance.
The resulting photos show some of the world’s most powerful men and women — who have been at loggerheads for months over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its aggression in eastern Ukraine — as they attempt to make nice despite ongoing the political and economic sparring. The summit marked the first meeting between Poroshenko and Putin, but it wasn’t purely ceremonial. In a brief encounter, the two men reportedly discussed a possible cease-fire in eastern Ukraine. Putin also briefly met with Obama and held more formal talks with his French, German, and British counterparts.
The best images from the get-together are below.
Here, Putin arrives for a group photo, earning some glares from his peers:
In conversation with Putin, Merkel just looks confused. The series below captures their exchange, which appears to leave Merkel somewhat baffled.
Putin seems to have an unrivaled ability to make ridiculous expressions in Merkel’s company. The scene below brings to mind that time he was accosted by a naked protester at a trade show in Hanover.
At an indoor sit-down with Merkel, Putin’s expression isn’t ridiculous — just bored.
It’s hard not to think Putin is doing is best to ignore Poroshenko here: