Published: Mon, July 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Trump declares 'a very good start' to meeting with Russian President

Trump declares 'a very good start' to meeting with Russian President

The summit got under way hours after Trump blamed the United States, and not Russian election meddling or its annexation of Crimea, for a low point in US-Russia relations.

Donald Trump said: "And I really think the world wants to see us get along".

Trump, though, continued to refer to Mueller's investigation as a "witch hunt".

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. The Russian president touched down just after 1pm (1300 BST) local time, even though the official greeting with Trump at the Finnish presidential palace had been scheduled for 1.10pm. Putin has been late for past meetings with the pope and British queen, among many others.

In general, he said, the talks with Trump took place in an "open and businesslike atmosphere" and he characterized them as "successful and useful".

Putin says he and Trump have agreed to continue detailed discussions on arms control issues.

Putin revealed little about his agenda in terse remarks at the start of summit.

Trump has been attacking Brussels since the beginning of his presidency, saying European Union countries are treating the U.S. unfairly. Trump refused to answer.

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"I've been saying, and I'm sure you've heard over the years...that getting along with Russian Federation 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.

For his part, Trump first congratulated Putin with the successful organisation of "one of the best World Cups of all times".

Trump said last week that he would raise the election-meddling issue with Putin, but said he didn't expect Putin to budge on his denials.

Trump says he ran a "clean campaign" and he beat his Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton "easily".

During his Europe tour, Trump has been combative with traditional US allies at every stage - beginning at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels, where he chastised European leaders for not spending more on defense.

On Senate Square, male "pregnant Trumps" and women wearing pink gags railed against a Trump order reinstating what critics call a "global gag rule" that bans providing federal money to worldwide family planning groups that perform abortions or provide information about them.

Trump did not respond; Putin appeared to smirk.

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