US President Trump and Russian President Putin will meet on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland, 4 days after NATO summit, White House says

President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin are to have their first official summit in Helsinki, Finland on 16 July.

The announcement by the Kremlin and White House comes a day after Mr Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton held talks with Russian officials in Moscow to prepare the groundwork for the meeting.

Mr Trump has said “getting along with Russia and with China and with everybody is a very good thing”, and they would discuss the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine and “many other subjects”.

Since the billionaire businessman took office in January 2017, the pair have met twice in person.

They last held face-to-face talks in November 2017 on the sidelines of an APEC summit of world leaders in Danang, Vietnam.

In July that year, Mr Trump and President Putin had a bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

The Russian leader says he and Mr Trump “regularly talk over the phone”, while the White House says they have spoken at least eight times.

Relations between the two countries have become strained over allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

The Kremlin denies links with the Trump campaign team and influencing the White House race amid a formal investigation led by former FBI boss Robert Mueller.

While Mr Trump often praises Mr Putin, the US has slapped sanctions on Moscow for its military action in Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea.

Earlier this month, Mr Putin told Chinese state media that he expects economic sanctions to be gradually lifted and Russia’s relationship with Western countries to normalise.

Mr Trump has called for Russia to be let back into the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialised nations.

Russia was suspended over the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and before the move the group was known as the G8.

Before this month’s G7 summit in Canada, Mr Trump told reporters: “Why are we having a meeting without Russia in the meeting?

“They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”

Most other G7 members do not think Russia should be readmitted, but the new Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte backed the US president’s views.

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