Vladimir Putin today hailed his historic summit with Donald Trump as “successful” after the pair spent almost two hours chatting one-on-one.
The pair spoke at a joint press conference today after meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland.
“We made the first steps towards a brighter future, grounded on cooperation and peace. Refusing to engage will not accomplish anything.
“The disagreements between our two countries are well-known and president Putin and I discussed them at length today.
“Even during the tensions of the Cold War, when the world looked much different than it does today, Russia and the US were able to maintain a strong dialogue.
“Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed. As of about four hours ago. This was a very constructive day, a very constructive few hours we spent together. I’m sure we’ll be meeting again in the future, often.”
Putin, looking noticeably happier than earlier in the day, said:
“Negotiations with Trump took place in an open and constructive atmosphere, I find them rather successful and useful.
“It is obvious to everyone that international relations live through a difficult period. The Cold War has ended a long time ago, the situation in the world has drastically changed. Russia and the United States are now facing totally different challenges.”
He added the meeting marked the first steps to restore “an acceptable level of trust and go back to previous level of interaction on all mutual interest issues”.
“As far as Syria is concerned the task of establishing peace and reconciliation in this country could be the first showcase example of successful joint work.”
The meeting came after Putin left Trump waiting for 45 minutes and the US President claimed America’s relationship with Russia had NEVER been worse.
Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2018
President Obama thought that Crooked Hillary was going to win the election, so when he was informed by the FBI about Russian Meddling, he said it couldn’t happen, was no big deal, & did NOTHING about it. When I won it became a big deal and the Rigged Witch Hunt headed by Strzok!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2018
At a brief photo op prior to the meeting, Trump had said:
“We have a lot of good things to talk about. Military, missiles, China our mutual friend president Xi. We have great opportunities together.
“We have not been getting along very well over the past years. I feel we’ll have an extraordinary relationship – getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing.”
Their private meeting lasted roughly two hours, after which Trump was asked how it went and replied: “I think it’s a good start. A very, very good start for everybody”.
“The world want to see us getting along, we have 90 per cent of the nuclear, this is not a good thing, it’s a bad thing. It’s a negative force. We’ll be talking about that.”
Trump had earlier attacked the ongoing FBI investigation into Russian election interference, dubbing it a “Rigged Witch Hunt” in a series of tweets.
Trump landed in Helsinki yesterday to prepare for today’s meeting with the Russian leader having also described the EU as one of the US’s biggest “foes”.
This morning Trump tweeted: “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!
Meanwhile, on Good Morning Britain today, Trump doubled down on longstanding claims he wants to “get along” with Putin.
He told co-host Piers Morgan: “Look, if we can get along with Russia, that’s a good thing. I don’t know him, I met him a couple of times, I met him at the G20. I think we could probably get along very well.
“Somebody said are you friends or enemies? I said, well it’s too early to say right now. We’re competitors.
“But for Russia and the United States and frankly the UK to get along with Russia and China and all these other places around the world, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing.”
Trump’s meeting with Putin also comes amid of backdrop of furious attacks against his Nato allies, Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations and the EU.
On the subject of trade, Trump yesterday told CBS: “Now you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe.
“Russia is a foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly a foe.”
Before his stop in Britain, Trump butted heads with America’s Euro allies while at a Nato Summit in Brussels.
He chided members of the alliance for not spending more on defense and blasted Germany for buying gas from Russia.
Back in the US, the accusations that Russia meddled in the 2016 election could overshadow Trump’s meeting with the former Putin.
While the New York property tycoon took tea with the Queen on Friday, the federal grand jury charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with stealing data from the campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
When asked when whether he would extradite the 12 accused Russians, Trump said he “hadn’t thought” about it, before adding “Well, I might.”
He also appeared to suggest that the Russians did not hack the Republican National Committee because they had “better defences.”
The US President added: “I think the D.N.C. (Democratic National Committee) should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked.”
Trump has repeatedly said the investigation into suspected interference by Moscow in the election makes it hard for him to cut substantive deals with Putin.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
July 16th, 2018