Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump share awkward handshake at Helsinki summit

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 18, 2018

United States President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday met in Finland's capital Helsinki.

Trump congratulated Putin on Russia's hosting the World Cup and said he looked forward to discussing a slate of issues with the Kremlin leader.

The spokesman said the Government remained committed to "constructive dialogue" with Washington over steel tariffs, after Mr Trump described the European Union as "a foe" of the United States in trade terms. U.S. allies "are now agreeing to pay" their fair share, Trump added.

While Trump has been overseas since last week, the special prosecutor investigating allegations that Russia interfered to help him win the 2016 presidential election indicted 12 Russians on Friday for stealing Democratic Party documents. Instead, he seems content to accept the Kremlin's contention that "the meddling never happened", or, as he put it in November, "Every time [Putin] sees me, he says, "I didn't do that", and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it".

"I think we're going to have a great trade deal", Mr Trump told interviewer Piers Morgan. We have 90 percent of the nuclear, and that's not a good thing.

"The disagreements between our two countries are well-known and President Putin and I discussed them at length today", Trump said.

Hours before the Helsinki summit, Trump was asked if he would press Putin over Russia's alleged manipulation of the 2016 election that brought the mercurial property tycoon to power. "I think the European Union is a foe". The Russian president glanced at the reporters and photographers, but did not say a word as he sat at the rectangular lunch table at the presidential palace in Helsinki, Finland.

The Russian foreign ministry rejected last week's indictment as part of a "shameful comedy" staged by those in the US who try to prevent the normalisation of Russia-US ties, arguing that it doesn't contain evidence to back the accusations.

U.S. President Donald Trump said his upcoming meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin will go "fine".

On Friday Putin's adviser, Yuri Ushakov said: "The state of bilateral relations is very bad".

Trump also said at the breakfast meeting that "NATO's never been stronger" and "NATO has never been more together" after the July 11-12 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels, where he said alliance members agreed to speed up increasing their defense spending following criticisms he made at the meeting.

Russian Federation hoped however that the summit would be "the first step" in overcoming a crisis in relations, he said.

"They discussed the Skripal case and the ongoing situation in Salisbury, but she didn't direct the president to do anything in particular because the position the USA has set out on this is very, very clear and the president couldn't have been clearer in public about who he believes is responsible and the action that they have taken".

Trump made the brief prediction Monday at a breakfast at Finland's presidential residence in Helsinki. I respect the leaders of those countries.

Come 4:50pm local, 9:50am ET, President Trump and President Putin are scheduled to participate in a joint press conference.

"I hope this message reaches Helsinki".

If Washington were to acquiesce in Russia's 2014 land-grab, this would break with decades of U.S. policy and send tremors through NATO's exposed eastern flank.

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