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:
Colum Lynch is Foreign Policy's award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy's Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Silver Prize for his coverage of the United Nations.
Before moving to Foreign Policy, Lynch reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. As the Washington Post's United Nations reporter, Lynch had been involved in the paper's diplomatic coverage of crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as the nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea. He also played a key part in the Post's diplomatic reporting on the Iraq war, the International Criminal Court, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Lynch's enterprise reporting has explored the underside of international diplomacy. His investigations have uncovered a U.S. spying operation in Iraq, Dick Cheney's former company's financial links to Saddam Hussein, and documented numerous sexual misconduct and corruption scandals.
Lynch has appeared frequently on the Lehrer News Hour, MSNBC, NPR radio, and the BBC. He has also moderated public discussions on foreign policy, including interviews with Susan E. Rice, the U.S. National Security Advisor, Gerard Araud, France's U.N. ambassador, and other senior diplomatic leaders.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Lynch received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 1987. He previously worked for the Boston Globe.| The Cable |
John Hudson is a staff writer for Foreign Policy where he chases down stories from Foggy Bottom to the White House, the Pentagon to Embassy Row. Between 2009 and 2012, John covered politics and global affairs for The Atlantic Wire. In 2008, he covered the August War between Russia and Georgia for Salon.com and other news outlets. Over the years, he's dug up resignation-causing FEC documents; unmasked world-famous Internet trolls; exposed bizarre Photoshopping by government media; and revealed a secret Iranian military facility. John's weakness is cold craft beer from his birthplace of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He's appeared on MSNBC, BBC, C-SPAN, Fox News radio, and other broadcast outlets.| The Cable |