United States President Donald Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin today held their first one-on-one meeting in the midst of various tensions. The meeting which was held on one-on-one basis, ran into overtime as the two leaders attempted 'to clear the diplomatic backlog'.
At the join presser after the meeting, Putin denied Russian involvement in US Presidential polls, while Trump stressed on the need for productive dialogue between two nations.
Trump-Putin meeting in Finland's Helsinki: As it happened
09:00 pm (IST): Donald trump and Vladmir Putin hold joint press conference after historic summit in Helsinki:
#Trump says he sees no reason why Russia would interfere in the 2016 election. Trump resisted when asked Monday to condemn Russian meddling in the election. Instead, he complained about a Democratic National Committee computer server and emails belonging to Hillary Clinton, the Democrat he defeated to win the presidency. Trump said of Putin: “He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
#Trump and Putin say they are exploring ways to protect Israel from conflict raging near its border in Syria. The two leaders did not commit to any specific actions, but both said that ensuring Israel’s security was a priority.
Israel is deeply concerned about Iran’s presence in Syria, where Iranian forces and proxies have been fighting on behalf of the Syrian government, which is also supported by Russia. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appealed to both Trump and Putin to eliminate the Iranian presence, which the Jewish state regards as an existential threat.
#Russian President Vladimir Putin says he and US President Donald Trump have agreed to continue detailed discussions on arms control issues. Putin said Russia and the US should discuss a possible extension of the 2010 New START nuclear arms reduction treaty and the implementation of the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty. Putin added that other issues that Russia would like to discuss in the arms control sphere are the US missile defense plans and the weaponization of space.
#President Trump has just mentioned that Russia has just concluded the World football cup. Speaking of the football, Mr President, I will give this ball to you and now the ball is in your court. All the more that the US will host the World cup in 2026: Russia Pres to US Pres
#Where did you get this idea that President Trump trusts me or I trust him? He defends the interest of the United States of America & I do defend the interest of Russian Federation: Vladimir Putin on allegations of Russia intervening in 2016 election in the United States
#The crisis in Syria is a complex one. Cooperation b/w our 2 countries has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives. I also made clear that US won't allow Iran to take benefit from our successful campaign against ISIS: US Pres in Helsinki after his summit with Putin
#US President Donald Trump says the United States and Russia must find ways to “cooperate in pursuit of shared interests.” Trump says a productive dialogue between the US and Russia is good for both countries and “is good for the world.”
#Speaking in Finland after a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump says they discussed disagreements between their countries “at length.” Trump adds that relations between the US and Russia have never been worse. He adds that he thinks that “changed as of about four hours ago.”
#Trump says he’s sure that he and Putin will meet again often in the future.
#Russian President Vladimir Putin says the “so-called Russian interference” in the US 2016 presidential election was brought up by President Donald Trump during their summit in Helsinki. Speaking at a joint news conference, Putin said: “I had to repeat that the Russian state never interfered, and does not plan to interfere in internal American electoral process.” In general, he said, the talks with Trump took place in an “open and businesslike atmosphere” and he characterized them as “successful and useful.”
#As major nuclear powers, we (Russia and the US) bear special responsibility for maintaining international security: Russia President Vladimir Putin after his summit with US President Donald Trump in Helsinki
#I think we can call it a success and a very fruitful round of negotiations...The cold war is a thing of the past: Russia President Vladimir Putin after his summit with US President Donald Trump in Helsinki
#We had a good conversation with President Trump and I hope we start to understand each other better and I'm grateful to Donald for it. Clearly, there are some challenges left, we were not able to clear all the backlog, but I think we made the first important step: Vladimir Putin
08:51 pm (IST): Putin says summit with Trump 'very successful, useful', reports AFP
7:20 pm (IST): Even before US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin sat down Monday, Russia’s government signaled that the two leaders were on the same page. Russia’s Foreign Ministry tweeted “we agree” in reaction to Trump’s morning tweet criticizing US “foolishness and stupidity” for the state of relations between the two countries.
Trump’s tweet says: “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”
Trump has promised to raise Russian election meddling with Putin, but he did not do so publicly when he discussed the agenda as they first met on Monday. The two presidents are set to hold a joint press conference later in the day.
7:00 pm (IST): Trump says he and Russian President Vladimir Putin have had a “good start” to their high-stakes summit in Finland. Trump is calling his meeting with Putin “a good start, a very good start for everybody” as the two leaders and their top advisers sat across the table from one another during a luncheon. It followed more than two hours of one-on-one discussions involving just the US and Russian leaders, with only translators present.
Trump was joined at the luncheon by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman and other top aides. After the lunch, Trump and Putin will appear for a joint news conference in Helsinki.
6:40 pm (IST): The one-on-one meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin is running overtime and has now passed the two-hour mark. The White House had scheduled 90 minutes for that meeting.
A Finnish official said the two leaders were still meeting as of 4:09 pm (06:39 pm IST), two hours after they began their meeting in the Gothic Hall of the Presidential Palace in Helsinki.
05:05 pm (IST): US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are meeting privately, joined only by translators, in the Finnish Presidential Palace.
The two leaders entered the Gothic Hall with serious expressions, moving quickly to two ornate wooden chairs set before American and Russian flags. Trump sat upright as Putin appeared to lounge in his chair. Trump deferred to Putin to make opening remarks.
04:50 pm (IST): Trump says at the start of his summit with Putin in Helsinki that he thinks “the world wants to see us get along.” Trump says the two countries have “great opportunities,” saying they have not been getting along for the past few years. He says he thinks they can have an “extraordinary relationship.”
He says their discussions will involve trade, the military, missiles, nuclear weapons and China, including their “mutual friend” China’s Xi Jingping. He did not mention Russia’s meddling in the US election.
The two leaders were seated together in a room adorned by American and Russian flags at the Finnish Presidential Palace, separated by a small table.
The meeting started about 45 minutes late following Putin’s delayed arrival to Finland.
04:45 pm (IST): Russian President Vladimir Putin says it’s time to talk seriously with President Donald Trump about relations between their powerful nations and global problems. Putin revealed little about his agenda in terse remarks at the start of talks with Trump in Helsinki.
While Trump spoke more extensively amid incessant clicks of cameras, Putin said only that “the time has come to talk thoroughly about bilateral relations as well as various hotspots in the world.” He called the meeting part of “continued constant contacts” between the men.
Putin looked serious but smirked when journalists asked Trump about Russian meddling in the US presidential campaign. Trump refused to answer. He and Trump shook hands briefly and headed into talks.
04:30 pm (IST): Trump has arrived at Finland’s Presidential Palace for the summit minutes after Putin's arrival. The meeting is being closely watched on both sides of the Atlantic, coming days after the US Justice Department indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers for their role in hacking Democratic entities during the 2016 presidential campaign.
03:35 pm (IST): Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived late for his high-profile meeting with US President Donald Trump — another display of the Russian’s leader famous lack of punctuality. Putin’s plane touched down in Helsinki 30 minutes later than planned, pushing back the start of his one-on-one talks with Trump.
In the past, Putin was late for meetings with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Pope Francis, among many others. In 2014, he was hours late for meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, after his previous stop in Serbia lasted longer than usual. Often seen as a trick to throw his interlocutors off balance, Putin’s tardy ways appear to be more of a personal trait than a well-calculated strategy.
03:15 pm (IST): Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman says he hopes the summit with US President Donald Trump is a “baby step” toward fixing exceptionally bad US-Russian relations.Ahead of Monday’s meeting, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told broadcaster RT that the men had no strict agenda but recognize their “special responsibility” for global stability.
He said European countries shouldn’t be worried about a possible US-Russian rapprochement or decisions about Europe made “over the heads of Europeans.” Peskov said the Russian leader respects Trump’s “America first” stance because Putin puts Russia first, but said the only way to make progress at the summit is if both sides are open to finding areas of mutual benefit. Russian officials say Putin is expected to reiterate denials of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
12:45 pm (IST): Meanwhile, US President had a breakfast meeting at Finland’s presidential residence with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö (SAW-lee KNEE-nes-tuh). Trump thanked his Finnish counterpart for hosting the summit in Helsinki and spoke of his commitment to NATO. He also expressed confidence in successful talks with Putin and said it will go “fine”.
11:50 am (IST): Trump says the US relationship with Russia “has NEVER been worse” as he prepares for a high-stakes summit Monday with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Trump in a tweet is blaming the hostilities on “many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”
Trump also once again blamed his predecessor, Barack Obama, for failing to stop Russia’s efforts in the 2016 election. He said, Obama “thought that Crooked Hillary was going to win the election,” so he did “NOTHING” about it when informed by the FBI.
The meeting came in the midst of tensions between Russia and the West in issues concerning Iran, Syria and Crimea, as well as the unprecedented alienation between the US and its trans--Atlantic allies over trade and defense.
Helsinki has beefed up security for this event, with increased police patrolling around the city. Part of the downtown has been closed for the day, everyday life of ordinary people has been affected and public transport are disturbed.
The police said 16 or more demonstrations were registered before and during the summit, and on Sunday around 2,500 people got together at the Helsinki city center Senate Square to protest against the summit and Trump.
"Rage against racism!" "Stop deportations!" wrote some banners, which referred to Trump's migration policies.
Before arriving in Helsinki on Sunday, Trump named the European Union as a top adversary of the United States and denounced the news media as the “enemy of the people.”
Trump and his top aides were downplaying expectations for Monday’s summit as Trump continued to rattle allies by lumping in the EU with Russia and China after barnstorming across Europe, causing chaos at the recent NATO summit and in a trip to the United Kingdom.
Trump set expectations for the summit low, telling CBS News, “I don’t expect anything. ... I go in with very low expectations.” His national security adviser said they weren’t looking for any “concrete deliverables.”
He also said in the interview taped Saturday 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. presidential election.
But after being given the idea by his interviewer, Trump said, “Certainly I’ll be asking about it.”
The US has no extradition treaty with Moscow and can’t compel Russia to hand over citizens. Russia’s constitution prohibits extraditing its citizens to foreign countries.
(With agency inputs)