Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks prior to the beginning of the first lesson at a school at the Russian Pacific Ocean city of Vladivostok, Russia, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
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The G20 summit starting in China Sunday gives Russian President Vladimir Putin one more chance to try to strong-arm U.S. leader Barack Obama over Syria and Ukraine as their fraught relationship nears an end.Now with elections for a new U.S. president just over two months away, Russian analysts say an emboldened Putin could see the G20 as an opportunity to press for concessions from Obama, particularly on Syria if he wants to make progress on the war before leaving office.Russia and the United States back opposing sides in Syria's five-year war, which has left 280,000 people dead and forced half the population to flee their homes.The U.S. slapped sanctions on Moscow and tried to isolate Putin, but the Russian strongman muscled his way back to center stage by launching a surprise bombing campaign in Syria in September 2015 to back Assad.Despite his harsh criticism of the Russian leadership throughout his two terms, Russian foreign policy analyst Fyodor Lukyanov said Obama has always appeared "very prudent" in handling Putin.
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