Trump and Putin to face off for first time in meeting

FORGET the staged handshake and forced smile for the cameras.

US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are set to have a "fully fledged" face-to-face at the G20 summit on Friday.

One site has gone so far as to call it "the meeting that could shape the world".

Expect to see some serious chest-beating - because each leader will be keen to show strength, while trying to patch up a relationship that has deteriorated considerably.

It was initially thought that the two presidents would have a casual chat at the sidelines of the Group of 20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, but a Kremlin spokesman says the encounter will take the form of an official bilateral meeting.

"It is planned as a fully fledged, seated meeting," Mr Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, told Russian news agency TASS.

Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said it would be "a rather detailed, in-depth discussion".

The sit-down will be the first official meeting between Mr Putin and a US president since Barack Obama's tense talk with the Russian president two years ago.

The meeting should be a show worth watching, because each leader has a lot of pride at stake and each presents himself that their nation's toughest advocate.

"(I expect) an Olympian level of macho posturing between these two leaders, who both understand the importance of symbolism and the perception of being tough," Derek Chollet, a former senior national security official in the Obama administration, told CNN.

While neither the White House nor the Kremlin has detailed what subjects are on the agenda, but hot-button issues that Donald Trump claims have brought relations between Russia and the US to an "all-time low" include: Russian interference in the US election, Syria, sanctions against Russia,curbing North Korea, and repairing the relationship.