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September 5th, 2013
09:16 AM ET

Obama-Putin Rift On Eve of G-20

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 governmnets 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.

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

Former ambassador and expert on international peace James F. Collins says, "We will have a very bad patch if there is a military attack on Syria and I think we can expect some pretty frosty times."

Russia and Syria have been strong allies for decades. Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Bill Richardson says, "Russia is very close to Syria. They provide and buy weapons from each other, they kind of are a client state."

Though Russia is not alone in its refusal to endorse military action, Britain and Germany are also no's.

Syria is just one of the issues brining tension between the countries . 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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