The US President went into the meeting with no set agenda that was made public, but it is reported he and Mr Putin spoke about a ceasefire in southwest Syria, Ukraine, the fight against terrorism, and cyber-security.
Ahead of meeting, Mr Trump said it was an “honour” to meet Mr Putin. The Russian leader, in turn, said that conversations over the phone were not enough to discuss all the matters at hand.
Tom Bernes, a Distinguished Fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation, told The Independent that the mood at the G20 was one of "curiosity" about what would be discussed in the meeting.
Mr Trump as the “Uncertainty Engine in the mix” is part of the issue in determining what will come out of the Trump-Putin meeting and the final document - the G20 Communique, Dr Stephen Saideman, an expert on the Western alliance at Canada’s Carleton University, told The Independent.
Given the personalities of the brash Mr Trump and the ex-spy Mr Putin, this is a matter of winning and losing in the one-on-one meeting.
Mr Putin “is likely to win” he said.
The US leader is facing pending FBI, House, Senate, and special prosecutor investigations into his campaign team’s alleged ties to Russian officials as well as obstruction of justice charges.
Mr Tillerson has said there was "positive chemistry" between the two leaders and that there was "not a lot of re-litigating of the past" between them. Much of the focus was how to "move the relationship forward".
Keir Giles, an Associate Fellow on Russian affairs at Chatham House, told The Independent that in not acknowledging past grievances - especially the topic of Russian interference in the 2016 US election - he is in a way "excus[ing] Russia [for] an absolutely inexcusable hostile action against the US".
Mr Tillerson noted Mr Trump opened the meeting with the issue, with Mr Putin denying Russia's role in it. According to Mr Lavrov, the US leader accepted the declaration, but that was not exactly the story on the US side.
"In the context of this meeting the US side has been unable, or quite possibly unwilling, to exercise deterrence in order to constrain Russia," Mr Giles said.
The Secretary of State, who spoke to reporters off-camera, said Mr Trump had repeatedly brought up the allegations.
He noted that the leaders discussed wanting a "framework" of some sort to "judge" cyber-security threats in light of the chaos caused by the hacking allegations and email leaks from the Democratic National Committee.
However, Mr Saideman commented that this idea may be a moot point if the Russians do not admit to the hacking activity.
The biggest names involved in the Trump-Russia investigation
The biggest names involved in the Trump-Russia investigation
1/11 Paul Manafort
Mr Manafort is a Republican strategist and former Trump campaign manager. He resigned from that post over questions about his extensive lobbying overseas, including in Ukraine where he represented pro-Russian interests.
2/11 Mike Flynn
Mr Flynn was named as Trump's national security adviser but was forced to resign from his post for inappropriate communication with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. He had misrepresented a conversation he had with Mr Kislyak to Vice President Mike Pence, telling him wrongly that he had not discussed sanctions with the Russian.
3/11 Sergey Kislyak
Mr Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US, is at the centre of the web said to connect President Donald Trump's campaign with Russia.
4/11 Roger Stone
Mr Stone is a former Trump adviser who worked on the political campaigns of Richard Nixon, George HW Bush, and Ronald Reagan. Mr Stone claimed repeatedly in the final months of the campaign that he had backchannel communications with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and that he knew the group was going to dump damaging documents to the campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton - which did happen. Mr Stone also had contacts with the hacker Guccier 2.0 on Twitter, who claimed to have hacked the DNC and is linked to Russian intelligence services.
5/11 Jeff Sessions
The US attorney general was forced to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation after it was learned that he had lied about meeting with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
6/11 Carter Page
Mr Page is a former advisor to the Trump campaign and has a background working as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch. Mr Page met with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Mr Page had invested in oil companies connected to Russia and had admitted that US Russia sanctions had hurt his bottom line.
7/11 Jeffrey "JD" Gorden
Mr Gordon met with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 Republian National Convention to discuss how the US and Russia could work together to combat Islamist extremism should then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump win the election. The meeting came days before a massive leak of DNC emails that has been connected to Russia.
8/11 Jared Kushner
Mr Kushner is President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a key adviser to the White House. He met with a Russian banker appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in December. Mr Kushner has said he did so in his role as an adviser to Mr Trump while the bank says he did so as a private developer. Mr Kushner has also volunteered to testify in the Senate about his role helping to arrange meetings between Trump advisers and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
9/11 James Comey
Mr Comey was fired from his post as head of the FBI by President Donald Trump. The timing of Mr Comey's firing raised questions around whether or not the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign may have played a role in the decision.
10/11 Preet Bharara
Mr Bahara refused, alongside 46 other US district attorney's across the country, to resign once President Donald Trump took office after previous assurances from Mr Trump that he would keep his job. Mr Bahara had been heading up several investigations including one into one of President Donald Trump's favorite cable television channels Fox News. Several investigations would lead back to that district, too, including those into Mr Trump's campaign ties to Russia, and Mr Trump's assertion that Trump Tower was wiretapped on orders from his predecessor.
11/11 Sally Yates
Ms Yates, a former Deputy Attorney General, was running the Justice Department while President Donald Trump's pick for attorney general awaited confirmation. Ms Yates was later fired by Mr Trump from her temporary post over her refusal to implement Mr Trump's first travel ban. She had also warned the White House about potential ties former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to Russia after discovering those ties during the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign's connections to Russia.
Mr Trump and Mr Tillerson "want[s] to bury the hacking of the election for both domestic purposes and working with Russia. They see it as an obstacle, not as an attack that needs to be addressed," he explained.
Another point that is curious is that despite the lengthy meeting - which First Lady Melania Trump interrupted and tried to end after about an hour - the pressing threat of North Korea was not brought up, at least according to Mr Tillerson.
The President has repeatedly said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and their ongoing tests of nuclear weapons was one of the most important issues for the security of the US. He has railed against the United Nations Security Council for its inaction and gone after China's President Xi Jinping on Twitter and in various speeches for continuing to trade with Pyongyang.
Mr Saideman said the President and Mr Tillerson's criticism of others is just "noise. ...[and] insincere. If it was important, it should have been discussed."
It seems though that both foreign ministers are calling the meeting as a success because of the Syrian ceasefire agreement. However, Mr Tillerson said "we'll see what happens in the ability to hold that ceasefire".
Russia has long-been one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's few allies and the Defence Ministry has noted that US warplanes will be treated as "targets" should they cross the Euphrates River.
According to Mr Giles, Moscow did indeed win "the manipulation game".
Mr Lavrov was quick to give his concise account to the Russian media, while Mr Tillerson was far more "reactive," Mr Giles said.
"In the absence of any credible US participant in the meeting, the Russian version is likely to stand."
Despite the US media's focus on the bilateral, it is not the biggest priority at the G20.
“In terms of substance, we’re not expecting much” to come out of the face-to-face, Mr Bernes noted.
Mr Bernes, who spent four decades as Canada’s representative to international financial institutions, said that Germany’s ambitions for the meeting were “modest” given their upcoming election, but Mr Trump’s election “threw a curveball”.
He explained that Germany wanted sustainability and a focus on Africa to be the main topics of the discussion, however “developments have forced protectionism and climate change to the forefront”.
What everyone is hoping is a “victory [in] not having a roll back from previous positions”. Nothing happening is almost a good thing at this point.
“It will be hard to gain consensus” given that the US president does not want more action on climate change besides a re-negotiation of the Paris Agreement that several countries have already said will never happen and his “America First” approach to US trade.
The document is expected to be issued after the end of the summit on 8 July.Reuse content