Almost no time remains until one of the most discussed and most important for the world community meetings happen, – between the United States President Donald Trump and the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. And it means that for today there are almost no blanks in the information about it. What do we know about the upcoming talk between the leaders of the United States and Russia? Let sum it up.
How did the talks about a new meeting between Trump and Putin begin?
In March this year, Russia held regular presidential elections. And as it was very much expected, – it ended with the win of the acting head of the state Vladimir Putin. 76.69% of voters gave their voice to for him, and it is more than 56 million Russians.
It is interesting that the majority of the Western world leaders decided to ignore this event and not to congratulate their Russian counterpart on the re-election. Putin had to be satisfied with the attention of the presidents of the post-Soviet states and countries, which for some reason are also isolated.
However, a little while after and allegedly in contrary to his advisers, Donald Trump nevertheless decided to congratulate the head of the Russian state. At the same time, the US leader for the first time in 2018, expressed hope for an early personal meeting with Putin, before that they had only telephone talks and short meetings in the frameworks of large summits.
In addition, the mutual deportation of diplomats, accusations of cyber-attacks and other disagreements between Washington and Moscow weakened the Russian-American relations so much that the talks about a new "Cold War" between the countries started to spread.
When and where will the Presidents meet?
Initially, Trump tended to invite his Russian counterpart to Washington, but Kremlin insisted on the neutrality of the ground for both countries not to reveal their vulnerability.
Vienna or Brussels were assumed to be a compromise venue for the meeting of the American leader with Putin. However, after the John Bolton, the National Security Advisor of the United States, visited Moscow, the press services of both the White House and Kremlin announced Helsinki to be the spot.
It should be noted that this is not the first time when North city hosts the top-priority Russian-American summit and every time it was a success. This is the capital of Finland that hosted the meeting of Leonid Brezhnev and the U.S. President Gerald Ford in 1975 which symbolized an “ease” of tensions in the cold war. Mykhail Gorbachov and George Bush Sr. held their negotiations in Helsinki in 1990. Boris Yeltsin met Bill Clinton in 1997 here as well.
According to the latest information, Trump has already arrived in Helsinki and stayed at the Hilton Kalastajatorppa hotel. Putin is expected to arrive today, on July 16.
The long-awaited meeting shall take place at 1:20 p.m. local time, or at 10:20 AM GMT. It’s gonna be 3:20 AM in Washington.
The presidential palace is hosting an event.
It’s hard to predict the duration of the negotiations. According to Yuriy Ushakov, the Aide to the President, the Russian part is not going to limit the upcoming meeting with the U.S. leader.
For the record, the last year meeting of Trump and Putin during the G20 summit lasted for two hours. The leaders agreed to meet in person during the APEC CEO Summit 2017 in Vietnam afterward, however, they never managed to hold the meeting properly.
What will be the format of the meeting?
Supposedly, the meeting of the presidents will start from a tête-à-tête conversation in the presence of interpreters after the greeting with Finland’s head Sauli Niinistö at the Presidential Palace.
As the aide to Russian President Yuri Ushakov said to TASS agency, not only American side insisted on this, but such format is also advantageous to Russia.
Then, American-Russian negotiations will begin in the format of a working dinner, in which some members of the delegations will also take part.
In addition, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
After that, the leaders Trump and Putin will hold a joint press conference - they will make statements in turn and answer two questions each.
Neither the US president nor the Russian president plans to adopt final documents at the meeting, but in the course of negotiations, they can give respective instructions to their delegations.
As the summit’s program posted on the website of Finnish President states, it should be over by 16:00.
What will Trump and Putin talk about?
During the upcoming meeting in Helsinki, the presidents are planning to discuss the current state and perspectives of further Russian-American relations’ development, as well as the actual questions of international agenda. It was outlined in the simultaneous statements of the White House and the Kremlin at the end of June.
On July 16, due to Trump’s announcements during the NATO summit which took place in Brussels on July 11-12 and to his visit to London the next day after the summit, we have a more detailed information about it.
In particular, the US President said he would like to talk about a number of issues, including Ukraine, however, it will not be the key topic.
“On Monday, I will have a meeting with President Putin. We will talk about Ukraine, Syria, the Middle East, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons,” Trump noted.
In addition, he is going to talk to Putin once again about Russia’s interference with United States’ elections.
It is quite possible that on the background of the recent events, the issue of accusations against 12 Russian intelligence officers will be touched.
The presidents are also expected to discuss economic issues: sanctions imposed by Washington against Moscow, the realization of the Nord Stream 2 project, etc.
What do Trump and Putin expect?
According to the U.S. President, he doesn’t expect much of this meeting.
“I don’t have high expectation from the upcoming meeting, but we will achieve something fascinating,” Trump said a few days ago in Brussels.
“I hope for the good relations with Russia, China and other countries. This is good,” he underlined.
Moscow also expects that the personal meeting of Trump and Putin shall also set the pace in restoring Russian-American relations.
“The aim of the meeting, as we see it, is to start at last fixing negative situation in Russian-American relations, to take specific measures for their recovery, to restore acceptable confidence level,” Yuriy Ushakov, the Aide to the Russian President said.
“We were preparing to the meeting. We are ready to address literally all the issues of the bilateral and international agenda,” Ushakov added.
What does the rest of the world expect from the meeting?
As it was already noted, the entire international community eagerly awaits the meetings of the US President and the Russian President, because they are the leaders of two competing and equally powerful countries in the world.
The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko hopes that Trump could 'bring Vladimir Putin back to the right way.’ In his understanding, the right way is for the Russian President to recognize that he cannot break Ukraine. "I wish Mr. Trump success in his efforts to get back to the right way. Knowing him, I'm sure he expects our defeat, but that's not our option and will never be," he said.
The position of the European Union countries and NATO member-countries on this issue is also similar. The dialogue was also welcomed by the United States and Russia.
"We do not want a new cold war, we do not want an arms race. Russia is our ally, it will remain and it will not disappear. We need a dialogue with Russia at various levels to ensure better relations. But if we have no better relations, it is important to communicate with it in order to avoid risks of misunderstanding, mistakes, incidents, an increase of tension on our borders. Thanks to the dialogue, the risk of this decreases," said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
The British Foreign Ministry added that Trump must convey on behalf of all Western countries a unified position on a number of issues of concern to all, including the "Skripal case".
The only thing they fear is that the US president can let Putin fool him.