U.S. President Donald Trump sat down with Vladimir Putin for a long-awaited summit on Monday saying he wanted good relations with Russia, after blaming Washington’s own past “foolishness and stupidity” for the countries’ hostile ties.
US President Donald Trump has said getting on with Russia is "a good thing, not a bad thing" at the start of his first summit with Vladimir Putin.
“I’ve been saying, and I’m sure you’ve heard over the years...that getting along with Russia is a good thing not a bad thing,” Trump said, seated next to Putin at the start of talks in an ornate presidential palace in neutral Finland.
Mr Trump said he hoped for an "extraordinary relationship" as the two presidents met in Helsinki, Finland.
Earlier Mr Trump denounced his predecessors' "stupidity" for tensions.
US-Russia relations have been strained by Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and by claims that the Kremlin helped Mr Trump win the 2016 election.
Some US politicians had called for the summit to be cancelled after 12 Russian military intelligence agents were charged on Friday with hacking the presidential campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
But in his tweet, Mr Trump put the blame for the deterioration in relations with Russia on "years of US foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt".
Trump reached out to shake Putin’s hand, before the media were ushered out. The two men were to meet alone apart from interpreters before a working lunch with aides. Trump said they would talk about a range of subjects, listing trade, the military, nuclear weapons and China.
Reuters - BBC