Leaders at the G20 summit were treated to a lavish spectacular of water, fireworks and music on Thursday at the Peterhof Palace in St Petersburg, after a day of tense talks over Syria.

The event, which saw glamorous actors dressed up in opulent period costumes parade the grounds before the leaders, was in sharp contrast to the tense discussions earlier in the day.

Disagreements over Syria came to a head when it was reported that a Russian adviser had dismissed Britain as "just a small island".

g20 summit st petersburg obama

Leaders were pictured walking past lavishly dressed performers


Vladimir Putin's chief spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied that he was responsible for the comment, insisting it did not reflect the reality of Russia's views on its "positive" relations with the UK.

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David Cameron told reporters: "I've been told that the Russians absolutely deny making the remark, and certainly no one's made it to me."


g20 summit david cameron

Cameron and Putin were pictured side by side


Earlier in the day David Cameron, along with his counterparts from France and the US, had tried to pressure Russia by presenting fresh evidence that sarin nerve gas was used in Syria's chemical attack in August.

g20 summit russia

Actors were dressed in period costumes

g20 summit russia

Leaders attended the event after a long day of discussions over Syria

But Putin said it was "absolutely absurd" that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would use chemical weapons.

At a four-hour dinner in St Petersburg the premiers of Turkey, Canada, Germany and Italy all joined Barack Obama and Cameron in making the case for a robust international response to Assad's alleged breach of treaties banning the use of chemical weapons.


g20 summit russia

Fireworks were displayed over the palace


But it is understood that Putin's argument that any action must be approved by the UN Security Council was backed by several countries, including China.

"This G20 was never going to reach conclusions on Syria," Cameron said.

"The divisions are too great.

"The Russian position that, as Putin has said, if it is proved it is Assad he will take a different view but he is fairly clear that it is the opposition, is miles away from what I think the truth is and miles away from what lots of us believe."

However the tension of the day appeared to have dissipated by the time the leaders headed out for a night of fun, as Putin was pictured covering German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a blanket, and sipping a cup of tea next to David Cameron.

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  • Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel , David Cameron

    From the left: Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister David Cameron talk as they arrived for the Water and Music Show during the G-20 summit at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on early Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

  • Angela Merkel , David Cameron

    Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, center in front, and British Prime Minister David Cameron, front right, walk down the stairs as they arrived for the Water and Music Show during the G-20 summit at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on early Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

  • Herman Van Rompuy, Barack Obama, Manmohan Singh

    European Union Council President Herman Van Rompuy, left, and U.S. President Barack Obama, center, talk as India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh watches the Water and Music Show during the G-20 summit at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on early Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

  • David Cameron, Angela Merkel

    Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, and British Prime Minister David Cameron, right, arrive for a Water and Music Show during the G-20 summit at the Grand Palace in Peterhof, the czarist summer estate outside St. Petersburg, Russia, early Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Vladimir Putin

    Russia's President Vladimir Putin, center, arrives for a Water and Music Show during the G-20 summit at the Grand Palace in Peterhof, the czarist summer estate outside St. Petersburg, Russia, early Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Jose Manuel Barroso, Herman Van Rompuy, Barack Obama, Manmohan Singh

    From the left: European Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Union Council President Herman Van Rompuy, U.S. President Barack Obama and India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh watch the Water and Music Show during the G-20 summit at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on early Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

  • Actors perform during a light and water show for the G-20 leaders at the Grand Palace in Peterhof, the czarist summer estate outside St. Petersburg, Russia, early Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Fireworks and a light and water show illuminate during the G-20 summit at the Grand Palace in Peterhof, the czarist summer estate outside St. Petersburg, Russia, early Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel , David Cameron

    Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, looks at her cell phone as Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, drinks and British Prime Minister David Cameron looks on as they arrived for the Water and Music Show during the G-20 summit at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on early Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

  • Fireworks and a light and water show illuminate during the G-20 summit at the Grand Palace in Peterhof, the czarist summer estate outside St. Petersburg, Russia, early Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Fireworks and a light and water show illuminate during the G-20 summit at the Grand Palace in Peterhof, the czarist summer estate outside St. Petersburg, Russia, early Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Fireworks and a light and water show illuminate during the G-20 summit at the Grand Palace in Peterhof, the czarist summer estate outside St. Petersburg, Russia, early Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Vladimir Putin, David Cameron

    Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister David Cameron, right, warm themselves as they arrived for the Water and Music Show during the G-20 summit at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on early Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

  • Barack Obama

    U.S. President Barack Obama arrives for a Water and Music Show during the G-20 summit at the Grand Palace in Peterhof, the czarist summer estate outside St. Petersburg, Russia, early Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel , David Cameron

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, second right, covers Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel warm blanket as they arrived for the Water and Music Show during the G-20 summit at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on early Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. British Prime Minister David Cameron is on the right. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

  • Barack Obama

    U.S. President Barack Obama, center, arrives for a Water and Music Show during the G-20 summit at the Grand Palace in Peterhof, the czarist summer estate outside St. Petersburg, Russia, early Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel , David Cameron

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, second right, covers Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel warm blanket as they arrived for the Water and Music Show during the G-20 summit at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on early Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. British Prime Minister David Cameron is on the right. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

  • Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin

    President Barack Obama shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during arrivals for the G-20 summit at the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Pool)

  • Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel , David Cameron

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, second right, covers Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel warm blanket as they arrived for the Water and Music Show during the G-20 summit at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on early Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. British Prime Minister David Cameron is on the right. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

  • Barack Obama

    U.S. President Barack Obama smiles as he walks to a dinner event that will take place with other G-20 leaders at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

  • Barack Obama

    U.S. President Barack Obama, right, walks to a dinner event that will take place with other G-20 leaders at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • David Cameron, Francois Hollande

    French President Francois Hollande, second left, speaks with British Prime Minister David Cameron, left, as they walk to a dinner event that will take place with other G-20 leaders at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

  • Recep Tayyip Erdogan

    Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, walks with other G-20 leaders to a dinner event that will take place at the Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

  • Christine Lagarde, Ban Ki-moon

    From left, South Korea's President Park Guen-hye, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde walk to a dinner event that will take place with other G-20 leaders at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

  • Vladimir Putin, Christina Fernandez de Kirchner

    Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, left, speaks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin as they walk to a dinner event that will take place with other G-20 leaders at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

  • Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel, David Cameron, Herman Van Rompuy

    From left, British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy walk to a dinner event that will take place with other G-20 leaders at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

  • Barack Obama

    U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he walks to a dinner event that will take place with other G-20 leaders at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

  • Dilma Rousseff

    Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff departs for a dinner with other G-20 leaders at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

  • Barack Obama

    U.S. President Barack Obama, center, walks with other G-20 leaders in the background as they depart for a dinner at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

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