Obama, Putin Have Three Quick Meetings at APEC Summit

PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, passes by President Barack Obama at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, Nov. 11, 2014 in Beijing.PlayRIA Novosti/Presidential Press Service/AP Photo
WATCH Obama and Putin Rub Shoulders in Beijing

There was no formal meeting planned, but with President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin attending the same international summit, it was impossible for the political foes to avoid one another.

In periodic run-ins throughout the day, the two leaders discussed several key issues, including Iran, Syria, and Ukraine, the White House confirms.

"On three occasions throughout the day, for a total of approximately 15-20 minutes, President Obama had an opportunity to speak with President Putin,” according to National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan.

PHOTO: The Kremlin released a photo of President Putin smiling as President Obama greeted him before the APEC class photo, Nov. 10, 2014, in Beijing.The Kremlin
The Kremlin released a photo of President Putin smiling as President Obama greeted him before the APEC class photo, Nov. 10, 2014, in Beijing.

Putin’s spokesman said the two leaders “have managed to use pauses at the summit several times to talk. They focused on the issues of bilateral relations, the situation around Ukraine, Syria and Iran.”

Relations between the U.S. and Russia are at their lowest point since the Cold War, amid disputes over Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and President Barack Obama, center, talk on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, Nov. 11, 2014 in Beijing.RIA Novosti/Presidential Press Service/AP Photo
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and President Barack Obama, center, talk on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, Nov. 11, 2014 in Beijing.

Cameras caught the two leaders crossing paths on the sidelines of the APEC Summit, as they came first face-to-face for the first time since June. At times, their interactions appeared friendly. At one point, Putin even reached out to pat Obama on the shoulder.

The Kremlin even released a rare photo of Putin smiling as Obama greeted him before the APEC class photo.

Other moments, however, revealed the signature tension between the two leaders.