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Putin, Obama to Meet Monday: Kremlin

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    Putin, Obama to Meet Monday: Kremlin
    AP

    Vladimir Putin's spokesman says the Russian president is to meet U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday.

    Putin is to speak to the United Nations General Assembly that day. It was not immediately clear whether the meeting with Obama would take place before or after the speech.

    Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday that Putin also plans to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the same day.

    With dozens of Russian combat jets and helicopter gunships lined up at an air base in Syria, Putin is ready for a big-time show at the UN.

    Observers expect the Russian leader to call for stronger U.N.-sanctioned global action against the Islamic State group and possibly announce some military moves in his speech on Monday.

    Putin appears to see the rise of the IS as both a major potential threat to Russia and a common cause that could help restore ties with the West, ravaged by the Ukrainian crisis. By claiming a new role in Syria, he may hope to lift Russia from the Ukrainian morass and rebuild its image as a top-tier global player capable of tackling IS, which he has called an "absolute evil."

    Fyodor Lukyanov, the editor of Russia in Global Affairs magazine, believes that Putin's moves in Syria are intended to "take the dialogue with the West out of the Ukrainian impasse."