Trump arrives in Helsinki, to hold summit with Putin

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 19, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump blamed "U.S. foolishness and stupidity" for bad relations between Washington and Moscow, hours before he was to sit down to a one-on-one meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

"Our relationship with Russian Federation has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of USA foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!"

The Russian foreign ministry responded by liking Trump's tweet and then replying: "We agree".

Later Tuesday, Trump tweeted, "The meeting between President Putin and myself was a great success, except in the Fake News Media!" "I've been here not too long, but it's getting close to two years, but I think we will end up having an extraordinary relationship".

While staying in his Scottish resort in Turnberry, Trump said in a CBS interview: "I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade", Trump said, adding that "you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe".

Given the inauspicious atmosphere, it's unlikely that any other President would still be meeting Putin.

Trump's conciliatory tone toward Putin is a stark contrast to his combative attitude at last week's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, highlighting once again the president's transactional approach to foreign policy.

It communicates that the "President of the United States is treating us with the respect that we deserve", said David Szakonyi, a professor of political science at George Washington University.

U.S. President Donald Trump. REUTERS  Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump. REUTERS Leah Millis

"I didn't know the president", he said.

Meanwhile, the youth wing of the country's anti-immigration party, The Finns, managed to get about 50 people to hold a pro-Trump rally.

Konstantin Kosachev, head of the upper house of parliament's foreign affairs committee, wrote in Izvestia that Monday's talks come at a time when "so-called "peace-loving" Europe is afraid of peace talks between USA and Russian Federation". The Russian foreign ministry "liked" Trump's comments on Twitter, which denounced the investigation into Russian meddling in American elections as well as previous USA policy.

The first official dialogue between the two global leaders was seen as a symbolic end to an effort among Western allies to try to isolate Russian Federation after its 2014 annexation of Crimea.

The president also told CBS News in an interview that he "hadn't thought" about asking Putin to extradite the dozen Russian military intelligence officers indicted this past week in Washington on charges related to the hacking of Democratic targets in the 2016 U.S. election. "I will absolutely bring that up", Trump said of Russian meddling in the 2016 election during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May. "We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security", Coats said in a statement. "Will they reimburse the United States?"

The summit will be the third time that both the leaders would meet face-to-face.

There is no doubt the summit is going ahead simply because Trump and Putin want it to.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton has said both sides have agreed the meeting will have no set agenda.

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