Trump seeks to lower expectations ahead of Putin summit in Helsinki

Election 2016

In this file combination of pictures created on March 26, 2018 shows Russian President Vladimir Putin(L) during his annual press conference in Moscow on December 17, 2015, and US President Donald Trump speaking about the spending bill during a press conference in the at the White House on March 23, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA AND Nicholas Kamm)

U.S. President Donald Trump is aiming to lower expectations ahead of his meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

Trump is the fourth U.S. President seeking a re-start with Putin. The Kremlin says relations must be set straight. But President Trump says he’s not expecting too much.

CGTN’s Guy Henderson explains the meeting comes days after the U.S. indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Finland’s capital Helsinki is bracing.

Monday President’s Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will hold private talks inside the Finnish presidential palace overlooking the Baltic Sea. This isn’t the first time Helsinki has found itself in the international spotlight. It’s the same venue where two of their predecessors met in 1990. Finland is not a member of the U.S.-led NATO military alliance and is viewed as a neutral venue for such talks.

Neither Trump nor Putin are particularly popular in the EU state. On Sunday, protesters gathered in some vain hope this meeting might not take place at all. The crowd of some 2,500 protesters demonstrated in support of human rights, democracy and the environment. At the same time, a handful of supporters gathered in central Helsinki waving Finnish flags and banners to welcome Trump to the European city. In total, some 16 demonstrations are expected to be held in Helsinki on Sunday and Monday.


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The Trump-Putin meeting comes at a time of tense relations between the two former Cold War adversaries. Through the decades, Finland has often been the venue of choice for American and Russian leaders to come face to face. Now, Putin and Trump are about to add their names to that list.

Almost any other U.S. president might have deemed this meeting just too politically risky to go ahead within the current environment. It comes days after the U.S. charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with interfering with the 2016 presidential election. And, as one of America’s closest allies, the United Kingdom, continues to accuse Moscow of an assassination attempt on its soil. But none of that has deterred Donald Trump. Though now even he admits to having low expectations. Experts say both face constraints.

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