The G20 Summit started Thursday as St. Petersburg welcomed the leaders of the most powerful countries. Though an economic event, the G20 summit was filled with talks of a possible strike on Syria. In fact, the actual issues of the gathering were supposed to be something else: Federal Reserve stimulus, tapering and global economic recovery. However, the escalating tension between President Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin has overshadowed the gathering.

G20 Summit

China backs Russia at G20

Obama is gearing up to attack Syria to punish the country for using chemical weapons. As President Obama landed in St. Petersburg, Putin came out openly against his U.S. counterpart. The Russian president said that a strike on Syria will be a violation of international law. There won’t be a one-on-one meeting between the two leaders, but they are likely to interact during the closed door G20 meeting, reports Mike Dorning of Bloomberg. China has supported Russia at the gathering, saying that an attack on Syria will hurt the global economy. Russia and China have stated clearly that they will veto a military attack on Syria.

Relations hit the wall

President Obama cancelled his planned meeting with Vladimir Putin after the latter gave Edward Snowden a green signal to stay in Russia. Snowden, a former NSA contractor, is wanted by U.S. intelligence. On the evening preceding the G20 summit, President Obama said in Stockholm that relations between the U.S. and Russia have “hit the wall.” But Obama reiterated his case for a strike on Syria. His stance on Syria has increased tension between him and Putin, an ally of Assad. President Obama said he will keep pressing his Russian counterpart over Syria.

In a recent interview, Vladimir Putin accused John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State, of deceit. Putin argued that the Al-Qaeda linked terrorist groups make up a large part of the Syrian rebellion. He called the possible attack on Syria an “act of aggression.” Putin continue to reiterate that the U.S.-led attack is absolutely illegal.