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Donald Trump planning meeting with Vladimir Putin in July in Europe

The White House on Thursday confirmed that US National Security Adviser John Bolton will visit Russia next week to discuss a “potential meeting” between presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

world Updated: Jun 21, 2018 23:46 IST
Donald Trump,Vladimir Putin,Trump Putin meeting
US president Donald Trump meets with Russian president Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany in July 2017. (AP File Photo)

US President Donald Trump is planning to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during Trump’s visit to Europe next month, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Two possibilities for the meeting are either before the NATO summit in Brussels on July 11 or after Trump’s visit to Britain on July 13, one of the people said. Both people asked not to be identified discussing the plans because they aren’t final.

White House National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis on Thursday confirmed in a tweet that US National Security Adviser John Bolton will visit Russia next week to discuss a “potential meeting” between Trump and Putin.

The White House didn’t comment further. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, declined to comment on a conference call with reporters on Thursday, in which he also said that the Kremlin expects Bolton to visit Russia.

Trump had two meetings with Putin last summer at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

The president has shown keen interest in restoring Putin’s place in the international community. At the G-7 summit in Quebec earlier this month, he proposed that Russia should be re-admitted to the Group of Eight countries, which was reduced after Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Rocky relationship

Although Trump has seldom criticized Russia or Putin and has largely downplayed allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the relationship between Moscow and Washington has been rocky since he took office.

Trump twice ordered air strikes against the Syrian government of Bashar Al-Assad, a Putin ally. And his administration imposed sanctions on wealthy members of Putin’s circle earlier this year.

Other leaders in the group of industrialized nations rebuked Trump, who made the off-the-cuff remark about readmitting Russia as he left the White House for the G-7 summit.

“You know, whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run,” Trump said. “And in the G-7, which used to be the G-8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in, because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”

Trump appears to be virtually alone in his party and even within his administration in seeking to repair U.S. relations with the Kremlin.

Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, castigated Trump for his remarks on Putin and for his animosity toward US allies and trading partners.

“The president has inexplicably shown our adversaries the deference and esteem that should be reserved for our closest allies,” McCain said in a statement.

First Published: Jun 21, 2018 22:00 IST