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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 July 2018

Trump is said to plan meeting with Putin in Europe in July

US president had two meetings with his Russian counterpart last summer at the G-20 summit in Hamburg

US President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany in 2017. Evan Vucci/AP
US President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany in 2017. Evan Vucci/AP

Donald Trump is planning to meet with Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, during the president’s visit to Europe next month, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Two possibilities for the meeting are either before the NATO summit in Brussels on July 11 or after Mr Trump’s visit to Britain on July 13, one of the people said.

Both people asked for anonymity to discuss the plans, because they are not final.

The White House declined to comment on Wednesday evening.

Mr Trump had two meetings with his Russian counterpart last summer at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

The president has shown keen interest in restoring Mr Putin’s place in the international community. At the G-7 summit in Quebec earlier this month, he proposed that Russia should be re-admitted to the Group of Eight countries, which was reduced to a Group of Seven following Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Although Mr Trump has seldom criticised Russia or its president and has largely downplayed allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the relationship between Moscow and Washington has been rocky since he took office.

Mr Trump twice ordered air strikes against the Syrian government of Bashar Al-Assad, a Putin ally. And his administration imposed sanctions on wealthy members of the Russian leader’s circle earlier this year.

Other leaders in the group of industrialised nations rebuked Mr Trump, who made the off-the-cuff remark as he left the White House for the summit.

“You know, whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run,” Mr Trump said before he left for Quebec. “And in the G-7, which used to be the G-8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in, because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”

The president appears to be alone among his party and even within his administration in seeking to repair US relations with the Kremlin.

Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, castigated Mr Trump for his remarks on Putin and for his animosity toward US allies and trading partners.

“The president has inexplicably shown our adversaries the deference and esteem that should be reserved for our closest allies,” Mr McCain said in a statement.