USA president arrives in Helsinki to meet Russian leader


Mr Trump said he had "low expectations" for his meeting on Monday with Russia's Vladimir Putin, which comes after 12 Russians were indicted for alleged hacking during 2016 USA elections.

After a turbulent diplomatic trip to Brussels and London last week to meet with European allies, Trump's relationship with Putin will be scrutinized as much for its domestic political implications as its worldwide significance. Trump has denied any collusion with the Russians by his campaign and Russia denies it meddled.

"Our relationship with Russian Federation has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of US foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!" wrote Trump on Twitter, referring to the investigation into possible collusion.

Trump and Putin will meet today (16 July) in Helsinki for their first stand-alone meeting since Trump took office in January 2017. Asked what he would say to the Russian president, Trump said: "We'll be just fine, thank you".

They also expect Trump to bring up Russia's incursion into Ukraine and the allegations of Russian meddling in the election.

"President Obama thought that Crooked Hillary was going to win the election, so when he was informed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation about Russian Meddling, he said it couldn't happen, was no big deal, & did NOTHING about it", Trump tweeted.

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Trump's foes at home have been scathing about his apparent refusal to criticize Putin.

They have met twice before on the sidelines of global summits. Other issues include the potential for nuclear arms talks and North Korea's nuclear challenge, given that U.S. officials have said Russian Federation had worked in the past to help Pyongyang circumvent global sanctions.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is due to meet Trump in Washington before the end of July to discuss trade. But at the same time Iran is a good partner to us in terms of trade, economic cooperation and political dialogue.

The World Cup has helped changed people's view of Russia, FIFA President Gianni Infantino told an audience at an event in Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre on Saturday, standing alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin.

For Trump, the formal meeting with Putin is an opportunity to develop a closer working relationship with the Russian president. There is no clear agenda. Both heads of state will also have a bilateral meeting with Niinistö.

Trump has predicted he will be accused of being too soft on Putin no matter how the summit goes.

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The president was greeted by U.S. Ambassador to Finland Robert Frank Pence on the tarmac of the Helsinki Airport.

"I was given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russia.I would return to criticism that it wasn't good enough - that I should have gotten Saint Petersburg in addition!" he tweeted on Sunday. "It's better to talk than to be quiet", he said, adding that he nonetheless does not expect any major breakthroughs on concrete issues.

A short time later he tweeted: "Our relationship with Russian Federation has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of US foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!"

President Sauli Niinistö expects his colleagues, Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation and Donald Trump of the United States, to mainly concentrate on laying the groundwork for future dialogue in their meeting in Helsinki on Monday, 16 July.

The two leaders will be joined only by their interpreters and will be the first-ever summit between the pair one-on-one, although they have met previously during multilateral talks.

Some politicians in the West believe the summit is happening at one of the most crucial junctures for the West since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.

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Putin has repeatedly denied any knowledge of interference in the US election.