September 5th, 2013
09:45 AM ET

At G-20, Obama Will Come Face-To-Face With Putin

Thursday marks the beginning of the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, but with tension between President Obama and President Putin  mounting on Syria, gay rights and NSA leaker Edward Snowden, some say Obama is walking into the lion's den.

President Obama, commenting on the relationship, has said, "We've kinda hit a wall in terms of additional progress," CNN's Brianna Keilar reports.

President Obama defended his position to launch strikes in Syria Wednesday in Sweden saying "I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world's population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent."

Putin remains vehemently opposed to a military response against the Assad regime, casting doubt over the evidence the U.S. government says it has on chemical weapons use in the country.

Putin saying, "If we have objective, precise data of who is responsible for these crimes, then we'll react.

CNN's Kate Bouldan asks CNN's Fareed Zakaria  to delve deeper into the thought process in Russia and explain why they currently stand with the Assad regime.

The host of "Fareed Zakaria GPS" responds it is, in part, because they don't want the United Nations to interfere with the nation's sovereignty, and they are also afraid of who would take over if the regime falls.

He says, “The part that I think that maybe is at the heart of this is the Russian’s worry that if Assad falls in Syria, a whole bunch of Islamic militants will come to power and will start spreading Islamic militancy and jihad into Russia."

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This is the highest tensions have been between the two world powers since the cold war.

Though Syria is just one divisive issue.

President Obama canceled his private meeting with Putin several weeks ago after the Russian leader's refusal to extradite NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

While in St. Petersburg, Obama also plans to meet with gay rights activists on Putin's turf as outrage spreads over Russia's new law banning any promotion of gay relationships to minors.

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