Stony-faced Theresa May shakes hands with Vladimir Putin

Theresa May cut a frosty figure as she shook hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Japan.

Relations between the UK and Russia have become tense in recent years following the nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury and divisions over Russia’s policy in the Crimea and Syria.

G20 summit
Mrs May appeared unimpressed as she shook hands with the Russian president (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

In an interview with the Financial Times ahead of the summit, Mr Putin insisted the spy row was “not worth serious interstate relations”.

He added: “Treason is the gravest crime possible and traitors must be punished. I am not saying that the Salisbury incident is the way to do it. Not at all. But traitors must be punished.”

G20 summit 2016
Mrs May and Mr Putin looking happier, during their first meeting in 2016. (Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)

As she met Mr Putin hours after the comments were published, Mrs May was clearly in no mood to exchange pleasantries.

The striking images of a stony-faced PM shaking hands with Mr Putin soon prompted jokes on social media.

“When your mum told you to shake your brother’s hand after the pair of you were fighting,” commented comedian Joe Heenan.

Fellow comic Janey Godley said: “When you meet that guy at a wedding but you know he cheated on your best pal.”

And spoof news reporter Jonathan Pie tweeted: “When you bump into your ex at a charity do.”

Meanwhile the @Number10cat account quipped: “Happiest I’ve seen Theresa look in weeks…”

Happiest I’ve seen Theresa look in weeks…

— Larry the Cat (@Number10cat) June 28, 2019

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