12:21 GMT17 April 2021
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    US President Donald Trump earlier said that he expected to have a productive meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16, suggesting that they might “even end up having a good relationship.”

    Ahead of the upcoming Trump-Putin summit, some NATO officials reportedly voiced concerns that the bloc’s member states were not included in the planning of the Helsinki meeting.

    “There are great concerns in the alliance about what agreements Trump and Putin could reach,” Peter Beyer, transatlantic coordinator for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition, told Funke Mediengruppe.

    According to The Washington Post, citing anonymous US and European officials, Trump’s closest aides and “alarmed allies” fear that the US president might agree on concessions on a number of issues during his meeting with Putin, such as recognizing Crimea as part of Russia or the situation in Ukraine.

    “The president thinks he can be friends with Putin. I don’t know why, or why he would want to be,” the outlet cited former national security adviser Herbert McMaster.

    The newspaper then highlighted that the Trump administration had sent mixed signals in the days leading up to a NATO summit that will take place before the upcoming Trump-Putin meeting.

    READ MORE: Russian FM Suggests Possible Agenda of Upcoming Putin-Trump Summit

    According to The Washington Post, Trump’s relations with his allies have been "corrosive" compared to his more “conciliatory approach” with Putin, even though the current US administration had imposed sanctions on Moscow and expelled Russian diplomats in solidarity with its European partners on the Skripal case.

    The outlet then reported that President Trump invited his Russian counterpart to the White House twice – in November and in March – which was at odds with his aides’ advice, who allegedly told him that “the chances of progress on substantive issues was slim.”

    The Washington Post also speculated that some White House officials were concerned that President Putin, who has had several phone conversations with Trump, would take advantage of his American counterpart’s “inexperience and lack of detailed knowledge about issues while stoking Trump’s grievances.”

    In last month’s interview with Fox News, Trump said that the two heads of state could, in theory, work out the Syria and Ukraine issues over dinner. He also reiterated that he wanted Russia to be reinstated to G7: “whether you like it or not and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run.”

    Earlier this week, US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman revealed that Trump viewed the forthcoming summit in Helsinki as a step that would help ease tensions between the two countries.

    READ MORE: Russian Envoy to US Suggests Putin-Trump Summit May Herald New INF Treaty

    Moscow and Washington are now preparing for the first full-fledged summit between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16 in the capital of Finland, Helsinki.


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