Donald Trump to press Vladimir Putin on election meddling, Ukraine aggression

Aaron Brown
July 8, 2018

A Senate Intelligence Committee report released on Tuesday supported the conclusion of three US intelligence agencies that Russian Federation tried to help Donald Trump win the 2016 USA presidential election.

"The president has determined that now is the time for direct communication between himself and president Putin and it is in the interests of the United States, the interests of Russian Federation and the interests of peace and security around the world", the official said. He wrote the leaders of Denmark, Norway, Canada and Germany last month to ratchet up the pressure, saying "the United States is increasingly unwilling to ignore the European failure to meet shared security commitments".

The U.S. ambassador to Russia confirmed Thursday that President Donald Trump will have a one-on-one meeting with Russia President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland later this month. "We're entering with our eyes wide open, but peace is always worth the effort".

"A change in atmosphere can change a whole lot else", the official said.

Jon Huntsman, U.S. ambassador to Russian Federation, said that Mr. Trump wants to improve bilateral relations but does not intend to let Mr. Putin off the hook for aggression in Ukraine and interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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"There is nothing being said at all about the troop alignment in Germany or anything that would change" the current basing arrangements there, Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchinson told reporters in a briefing about next week's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit. "We all talk about it a little differently", he said, "but the president has talked about it in his own way".

Speaking of the possible topics of the upcoming meeting, Huntsman said "some of them might be around strategic stability and arms control".

"You know, I think the fact that we're having a summit at this level, at this time in history, is a deliverable in itself", said Huntsman, adding that he "wouldn't underplay at all the importance of actually sitting down for the first time in a meeting-summit environment and discussing the issues that really matter most".

Her comments come just weeks after Trump charged that America is "the piggy bank that (NATO) likes to take from", and "we like to help out, but it helps them, they're in Europe".

Mr Trump wants Theresa May to go further on defence spending, and in a letter to Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, Jim Mattis, his U.S. counterpart said America was concerned that Britain's military power and diplomatic influence were "at risk of erosion". In the afternoon, he will have a one-on-one meeting with Putin, followed by an expanded bilateral meeting and a working lunch before he departs for Washington.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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