ad4d3f40ac4fe7b06bdf53da7133b7e5_XLUS-Russia summit off to bungled start after this brow-raising White House claim

The Obama White House’s claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin begged for a meeting with him is a lie, according to Kremlin officials.

According to Putin’s advisers, it was the White House that asked for the meeting, which is scheduled for Sept. 28.

On Thursday, White House spokesman John Earnest claimed Putin made “repeated requests” to speak with Obama about issues such as Russian intervention in Ukraine and Syria.

“The president did make a decision that it was worth it at this point to engage with President Putin in a face-to-face meeting to see if the interests of the United States could be advanced,” said Earnest.

“I think it is fair for you to say that based on the repeated requests we’ve seen from the Russians, that they are quite interested in having a conversation with President Obama,” he said.

That’s not true, said the Kremlin the next day.

“The Kremlin said on Friday that Washington presented a distorted version of events by saying that President Vladimir Putin had sought to meet U.S. President Barack Obama and said it was the U.S. administration that had proposed the talks,” reports Reuters.

“Details of such preparations are usually not public,” says Yury Ushakov.

“But since the American side has decided to present its version, which distorts what happened…I will point out straight away that the statement by the White House Press Secretary (Josh) Earnest that the Russian president sought the meeting, repeatedly asked about its organization, does not correspond to the truth,” reports Reuters.

Obama and Putin will speak following the Russian leader’s address to the United Nations in New York.

“The summit in New York is shaping up as a high-stakes squabble over the Syrian civil war that may illustrate the limits of world institutions and diplomacy,” The Los Angeles Times reports.

Whether it was the White House lying about Russia requesting the meeting, or mocking them for it, the summit is already off to a disastrous start.

Obama’s mishandling of Syria has given the Russian leader an opportunity to exploit anti-US sentiment.

“The Russian leader is expected to bash the West for failing to roll back Islamic State fighters from Syria and Iraq, and to argue that Washington and its allies need to stop trying to oust his ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, and focus instead on battling extremists,” the Times reports.