Trump brands Russia a 'foe' ahead of Putin summit

The Trans Europe Express is EURACTIV's weekly newsletter
The Trans Europe Express is EURACTIV's weekly newsletter
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17 July, 2018

President Donald Trump appeared to accept Russian denials of any meddling in United States elections at a historic summit with Vladimir Putin on Monday where the pair championed a fresh start in relations between the world's greatest nuclear powers.

"They're going to be paying Russian Federation billions and billions of dollars a year for energy, and I say that's not good, that's not fair", Trump told CBS.

The United States has no extradition treaty with Moscow and can't compel Russian Federation to hand over citizens.

He noted that Trump and Putin's summit in Helsinki would take place on the same day in Helsinki.

At the news conference Trump was invited by reporters to offer even a single criticism of Russian Federation, but repeatedly declined.

"I think we have a lot of foes", Trump said.

His meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un ended with a decision by Trump to end US-South Korean military exercises, much to the surprise of Seoul and Tokyo.

Asked if he trusted US intelligence agencies, which concluded that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election, Trump said he had been told by his CIA chief that Russian Federation was to blame, but he was not certain.

Back in America, Robert Mueller has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials for hacking during the 2016 election.

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In some of the strongest words yet reflecting the unease of Washington's traditional allies, Germany's foreign minister said on Monday that Europe could no longer rely on the United States.

Jenni Haukio, wife of Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, U.S. First Lady Melania Trump and President Trump and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, from left, on the balcony of Niinisto's official residence in Helsinki on Monday.

"Europe and China, America and Russian Federation, today in Beijing and in Helsinki, are jointly responsible for improving the world order, not for destroying it", he tweeted. During his breakfast, he said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation had "never been more together" and said the summit had been "a little bit tough at the beginning, but it turned out to be love".

Friday's charges against the 12 Russian officers alleging they hacked Democratic computer networks in 2016 represented the most detailed US accusation yet that Moscow meddled in the election to help Trump. He said asking for the indicted Russians to be turned over would have the opposite effect.

President asserted that he could be "given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russia" but then would return to "criticism that it wasn't good enough - that I should have gotten Saint Petersburg in addition!"

The White House statement that they put out shortly after the indictment said the Trump campaign specifically is not being accused of anything.

"And I heard that they were trying, or people were trying, to hack into the RNC, too", Trump said. "I think Vladimir Putin has to start admitting it". Russia's constitution forbids the extradition of its own citizens.

Scores of congressional Democrats had already called on Trump to cancel his meeting with Putin in light of the indictments, detailed on Friday by Rosenstein at a news conference. "If this meeting will give an impetus to nuclear disarmament, it would be progress", he said and added that Germany always talked about the necessity of establishing intensive dialogue with Russian Federation. But after a few years of cooperation, in 2014 Russian Federation illegally annexed Crimea from Ukraine, again using military force. Trump said such sessions are beneficial.

On Sunday, her 19-year-old son, Ewan Hope, was quoted in The Sunday Mirror as saying: "I don't share Donald Trump's politics and I'll never be a supporter of his, but I would like him to raise mum's case with the Russian president". "So this is an attempt to see if we can defuse and take some of the drama and quite frankly some of the danger out of the relationship right now".


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