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Who came out on top at the G20 summit?
02:36 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Russian President Vladimir Putin endures Ukraine criticism at global meeting in Australia

Host Prime Minister Tony Abbott misreads mood on climate change

U.S. and Chinese presidents enjoy comparatively successful trips

Brisbane, Australia CNN  — 

Vladimir Putin was the first G20 leader to leave Brisbane.

The Russian president’s jet lifted off soon as soon as possible – after the final lunch of the summit meeting, but well before the final communique outlining the achievements of the summit had been announced.

Given the mood of the summit, his speedy exit was hardly surprising. Putin had been a verbal punching bag for many of the G20 leaders, critical of Russia’s reported movement of new troops and weapons into independent Ukraine.

READ MORE: Putin ditches G20 after verbal jabs

Collective slight

It started with a deliberate snub as he arrived – welcomed at the airport only by a junior minister in Tony Abbott’s government.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper greeted the Russian leader the next day with the words: “I guess I’ll shake your hand but I’ll only have one thing to say to you – get out of Ukraine.”

European leaders, led by Britain’s David Cameron also had words for Putin, as did U.S. President Barack Obama.

But Putin put on a happy face when he met Tony Abbott in front of the cameras on Saturday, despite the Australian leader’s comments only a few days previously – accusing him, in person, of trying to “relive past glories of the Soviet Union” in Beijing at the APEC summit a few days earlier.

The Russian leader looked isolated throughout the Brisbane meetings, but he wasn’t the only leader to have a tough G20.

READ MORE: G20 agrees to boost growth

Abbott’s travails

The host, Tony Abbott also had a difficult summit.

It began badly with his first comments to the cameras, as he sat with all G20 leaders at a private retreat.

Instead of concentrating on the big global picture, the Australian prime minister chose to tell the most powerful leaders in the world about his own problems on the domestic front, including the difficulties of getting Australians to spend $7 in fees when they visited the doctor.

As one delegate said later, imagine having to translate that to the Saudi leader at the meeting.

Critics lined up to castigate the Prime Minister’s “whinging” performance, with opposition leader Bill Shorten describing it as “weird and graceless.”

Carbon mis-step

Abbott also pointed to his success in scrapping Australia’s carbon tax. Both the U.S. and Chinese presidents had just days earlier announced sweeping new carbon emission cuts to general praise around the world.

Abbott was on the wrong side of the carbon debate throughout the summit, with his government trying to keep it off the official agenda, arguing that the main purpose of the meeting was economics.

But, reportedly under strong pressure from both Europe and the U.S., carbon emissions were part of the official final statement.

Abbott also did not offer any financial support to Obama’s new $3 billion green fund to help developing economies combat the effects of climate change.

Productive trip for U.S.

The fund was just part of a number of deals and initiatives announced by Obama during his three-country Asian tour.

Trade deals and new climate change initiatives flowed from the U.S. camp, with the president clearly enjoying his trip, not to mention his rock-star treatment by students in Queensland and in Myanmar.

Similarly, Chinese President Xi Jinping also had a good tour, starting with his own climate change initiatives announced at the APEC summit in Beijing, several new trade deals and a historic handshake with regional rival, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Some commentators are suggesting it could be the beginning of a de-escalation of tensions between China and Japan over territorial disputes in the East China Sea.

And it’s not over yet for the Chinese leader, who is staying in Australia for the time being. After addressing the country’s parliament, a “speech of historical significance,” according to his Australian counterpart, he will next head to Tasmania, ticking off the last Australian state he has yet to visit.

“I don’t know whether I should get a certificate for that,” he joked.

During his speech in Canberra, Xi announced a free trade agreement that will cover a raft of commercial and governmental deals between the two countries.