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Trump arrives in Helsinki for summit with Putin

Helsinki [Finland], Jul 16 (ANI): United States President Donald Trump on late Sunday arrived in Helsinki, Finland for the much-awaited summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

The two leaders are scheduled to meet later on Monday.

Trump, who is on a seven-day, three-nation European trip flew in from Scotland, where he and his wife, Melania, spent the weekend at his golf resort.

Finland has a long legacy of hosting U.S.-Russian summits because of its perceived neutrality and geographic location, as per several media reports.

Earlier on Friday, President Trump said that he will “absolutely” ask his Russian counterpart about Moscow’s alleged involvement in the US presidential election.

“I will absolutely bring that up,” Trump said of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

“I don’t think you’ll have any ‘Gee, I did it, I did it. You got me!’ There won’t be Perry Mason here, I don’t think. But I will absolutely, firmly ask the question,” he added.

Speaking at a press conference alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May, President Trump seemed reluctant on a question of whether the US and Russia could realistically build a stronger alliance given Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine.

Russia had earlier denied meddling in the US election campaign and Trump called special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe on the Russian interference a “political witch hunt”.

On a related note, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will accompany the US President and will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and hold discussions on a range of issues on the US-Russian agenda.

The Trump-Putin summit is likely to take place for several hours and the two presidents will address a joint news conference after it, according to the Russian Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov.

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

Putin and Trump first met during the G20 summit in Germany’s Hamburg in July last year and again met for the second time in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam in November last year.

Earlier in March this year, the two leaders held a telephonic conversation, where President Trump had invited his Russian counterpart to visit Washington D.C.

It is to be noted that relations between US and Russia are greatly strained due to the crisis in Ukraine, Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2015, differences regarding Russian military intervention in the Syrian civil war, and the alleged meddling of 2016 US presidential election.

Washington D.C. has repeatedly condemned Moscow’s actions in Ukraine and imposed sanctions over the same since 2014. (ANI)

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