Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama didn’t see eye-to-eye during the 44th American President’s time in office.
As Russian forces brought about the annexation of Crimea, pounded Aleppo in support of Bashar al-Assad and were blamed for hacking Democratic National Committee emails during the US election, relations between the two leaders went from cool to frosty. During a four-minute conversation at an economic summit in Peru in November, Obama’s body language left onlookers in no doubt: Putin was unlikely to be one his post-presidency golf buddies.
Contrast that with the stance of Obama’s successor. Donald Trump has suggested that Putin might become his ‘new best friend’, heralded his strength as a leader and floated the abolition of US sanctions on Russia that were imposed in the wake of the Crimea annexation. Consider, too, the existence of a dossier compiled by a former MI6 agent, which is said to include unverified claims that Russian agencies could blackmail the President with “kompromat” collected during his stay at the Moscow Ritz Carlton in 2013.