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Trump-Putin Helsinki Summit highlights: US president says talks went very well, calls Russia probe 'a disaster'

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Trump-Putin Helsinki Summit highlights: US president says talks went very well, calls Russia probe 'a disaster'
  • 22:08 (IST)

    Putin rejects collecting dirt on Trump

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has rejected allegations that Moscow has collected compromising materials on U.S. President Donald Trump or his family. Asked during a joint news conference following their summit in Helsinki, the Russian leader dismissed the claims as "sheer nonsense."

  • 22:30 (IST)

    And, Trump signs off in Helsinki while critics rage on 

  • 22:16 (IST)

    "Disagreements are well known"

  • 22:14 (IST)

    It's all good, says White House

  • 22:04 (IST)

    "I'd never allow that soccer ball in the White House"

  • 22:01 (IST)

    "Beyond absurd", say Donald Trump party grandees

  • 21:58 (IST)

    "Missed opportunity"

  • 21:39 (IST)

    Former CIA director slams Donald Trump for "imbecile comments"

  • 21:39 (IST)

    Putin does not deny having compromising information on Trump

    On being asked whether Putin has compromising information on US president Donald Trump, the Russian premier does not deny it. Putin said, "I did hear these rumours. When President Trump visited Moscow back then, I didn't even know he was in Moscow... Nobody informed me that he was in Moscow... Please disregard these issues."

  • 21:27 (IST)

    President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today: Donald Trump

  • 21:23 (IST)

    President Putin gifts Trump a football from the recently concluded World Cup

  • 21:23 (IST)

    Our militaries have probably got along better than our political leaders: Donald Trump

    On being asked about discussion on Syria, US president Donald Trump said, "Our militaries have probably got along better than our political leaders for years."Putin said a crucial issue in Syria is the “huge amount of refugees” in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

    About the elections, Putin also said,“I wanted Trump to win because he spoke about normalizing Russian relations.” 

  • 21:20 (IST)

    Trump says Putin will be a competitor on gas pipeline issue

  • 21:16 (IST)

    Trump and Putin agree there was no collusion at all

    Both leaders agreed there was no collusion at all. When a US reporter asks Putin on claims that Russia interfered in the 2016 US election, Trump replied defending his election victory. Later, Putin said: “Where did you get the idea that Trump trusts me or I trust him?” The Russian president said that they are looking for “points of contact” and that the presidents are looking for a way to reconcile their differences. Putin said he's willing to let Special Counsel Mueller make an official request that Russia interrogate those Russians indicted for election meddling in the US. But in exchange, says Russia would expect US to question Americans that Russia charges with illegal actions against it.

  • 21:12 (IST)

    Russia probe is a disaster for our country: Donald Trump

  • 21:03 (IST)

    Donald Trump says talks with Putin 'went very well'

    Trump begins speaking and says that the talks with President Vladimir Putin "went very well". He said, “The disagreements between our two countries are well-known and president Putin and I discussed them at length today." He added, “Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed. As of about four hours ago.”

    Talking about Syria, the US president said that US and Russia can save millions of lives. He concluded saying, "I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than risk peace in pursuit of politics."

  • 20:57 (IST)

    Russia never interfered and doesn’t plan to interfere in US domestic politics, including elections

    Putin begins the joint conference saying the Cold War is a thing of the past. “Today both Russia and the United States face a whole new set of challenges.” Putin said in the negotiations they outlined “first steps for improving this relationship and to restore an acceptable level of trust”. The Russian premier said Russia and US interests don’t always agree but “the overlapping interests abound.” He added that they are “glad” issues with North Korea “are starting to resolve.”

    Putin says Russia never interfered and doesn’t plan to interfere in US domestic politics, including elections. The Russian premier added that if “any such material, if such things arise, we are ready to discuss them together.”

  • 20:45 (IST)

    Putin calls his talks with Trump 'a success'

    President Vladimir Putin says his talks with US president Donald Trump were conducted in "a frank and businesslike atmosphere." Speaking in Russian, he said, "I think we can call it a success."

  • 20:44 (IST)

    Amid anticipation, ruckus breaks out as security struggles to remove an individual 

  • 20:15 (IST)

    Happy Helsinki summit fails to charm Trump and Putin

    The United Nations may have judged Finland the happiest country in the world, but the Helsinki summit failed to make Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin smile. The American and Russian leaders seemed almost theatrically sour as they sat down for their first formal one-on-one summit despite the city's un-Baltic heatwave. Perhaps fearing that Trump's eagerness to forge a bond with Putin be mistaken for cheerful naivety, US officials played along with the serious mood. Trump and Putin did not shake hands when they entered, sullenly, but only when they began a lengthy closed-door meeting that had the diplomatic world on edge.- AFP

  • 20:13 (IST)

    The Presidential Palace’s Hall of State is filling up for the press conference

  • 19:59 (IST)

    Watch Trump-Putin joint press conference LIVE here

  • 19:53 (IST)

    Donald Trump wins sympathy from Russian media
    US President Donald Trump is no fan of American journalists, but he might love what the Russian media have been saying about him. A political maverick who is being unfairly targeted by his own compatriots — that's the common portrayal of Trump on Russia's largely Kremlin-friendly TV networks, websites and newspapers.Newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda dismissed the US investigation into Trump's "mythical work for the Kremlin", and praised Trump for meeting Putin "despite opposition from his own elite and the hysterics of the media". - AP

  • 19:38 (IST)

    Conference for conclusion of talks being set up

  • 19:35 (IST)

    Two leaders meeting on one of the hottest days in Helsinki in years

    According to the Finnish Meteorological Institute, it is currently 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), and such a day normally occurs about once a decade. 

  • 19:31 (IST)

    Snippets from the late lunch at Hall of Mirrors

    The two leaders at lunch with US delegation which includes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman, NSC Director of Russian Affairs Fiona Hill, interpretor Marina Gross. Trump said, in response to a shouted question: "I think it's a good start. Very, very good start for everybody."

  • 19:17 (IST)

    President Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin sit down for late lunch

    Following the one-on-one meeting, President Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin sit down for a late lunch with delegation members in the Hall of Mirrors. (Image courtesy: AP)

  • 19:10 (IST)

    Closed-door meet ends; Trump says his 1:1 meeting with Putin was "a very good start"

  • 19:00 (IST)

    Sergey Lavrov meets Secretary Pompeo in Helsinki 

  • 18:44 (IST)

    The closed-door meeting between Putin and Trump has been going on for over 2 hours

    The two leaders have skipped lunch as they continue conversing on significant topics for over two hours.

  • 18:43 (IST)

    One-on-one meeting between world leaders took place in Gothic Hall

  • 18:31 (IST)

    Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump will discuss ways to normalise bilateral relations: Russian Embassy in US

  • 18:22 (IST)

    Finland sides with democracy and fighting climate change, says deputy PM

    Finland sides with democracy and fighting climate change, its deputy prime minister said, as presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin held a historic summit in Helsinki.

  • 18:16 (IST)

    Meanwhile, the three presidents at the presidential palace in Helsinki

  • 18:11 (IST)

    Trump and Putin to have a 'working lunch' in Hall of Mirrors

    Trump and Putin will continue their discussions with an expanded group of aides and over lunch in the Hall of Mirrors. The leaders will conclude by taking questions at a joint news conference.

  • 18:01 (IST)

    Trump and Putin to hold another bilateral meeting and press conference later

  • 17:53 (IST)

    Does not expect much from the meeting: Kremlin

    The Kremlin had said it did not expect much from the meeting but hoped it would be a "first step" to resolving a crisis in ties."Presidents Trump and Putin respect each other and they get along well," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

    "There is no clear agenda. It will be determined by the heads of state themselves as they go along."

  • 17:46 (IST)

    Sergei Lavrov and Mike Pompeo hold parallel talks

    While Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have their one-on-one meeting, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov are also holding parallel talks in Helsinki, according to CNN.

  • 17:34 (IST)

    'Summit would cover everything from trade to military to missiles to nuclear to China'

    After opening the historic summit in Helsinki, Trump said the summit would cover "everything from trade to military to missiles to nuclear to China".

    "I think we have great opportunities together as two countries. Frankly, we have not been getting along for the last number of years," Trump added.

  • 17:29 (IST)

    Putin and Trump meet privately, joined only by translators

    Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump are having a private meeting in the Finnish Presidential Palace and are joined only by translators. - AP

  • 17:26 (IST)

    So much happening in the world that we need to talk about, Putin tells Trump

    In a brief statement, Russian president Vladimir Putin told Trump,“Distinguished president, I am delighted to be able to meet you here in Finland. We have been in continual contact by telephone since the last time, and obviously the time has come to have a business-like conversation because there is so much happening in the world that we need to talk about.”

  • 17:12 (IST)

    We will be talking a little bit about China, our mutual friend, President Xi: Donald Trump

  • 17:08 (IST)

    Here's the full text of President Donald Trump's remarks to Vladimir Putin

    "First of all Mr President, I’d like to congratulate you on a really great World Cup. One of the best ever from what everybody tells me and also for your team, itself, doing so well. I watched quite a bit and in the United States we call it soccer and I watched quite a bit of it and I watched the entire final and the semi-finals and they were really spectacular games, but it was beautifully done so congratulations on that.

    Most importantly we have a lot of good things to talk about ... we have discussions on everything from trade to military, to missiles, to nuclear, to China, we’ll be talking a little bit about China – our mutual friend President Xi.

    I think we have great opportunities together as two countries that frankly we have not been getting along very well for the last number of years. I’ve been here not too long but it is getting close to two years, but I think we will end up having an extraordinary relationship. I’ve been saying, and I’m sure you’ve heard, over the years ... that getting along with Russia is a good thing not a bad thing.

    I really think the world wants to see us get along. We are the two great nuclear powers. We have 90 percent of the nuclear – and that’s not a good thing it’s a bad thing. I think we can hopefully do something about that because it is not a positive force it is a negative force so we’ll be talking about that among other things. And with that the world awaits and I look forward to our personal discussion which I think begins now and then we are going to meet our whole team. You have quite a few representatives as I do. We all have a lot of questions and hopefully, we will come up with answers most importantly. It is great to be with you."

  • 17:01 (IST)

    Meanwhile, as the Trump-Putin summit is underway, Hillary Clinton tweets

  • 16:55 (IST)

    Trump tells Putin relations have not been good but hopes they will be 'extraordinary'

    President Trump says: "We have great opportunities together as two countries that frankly, we have not been getting along very well for the last number of years... but I think we will end up having an extraordinary relationship." President Trump said he and Putin will begin with their "personal discussion," and then join their delegations for more talks. Indicating what the discussions might be on, Trump says "We have discussions on everything from trade to military to missiles, to nuclear, to China." The US president also says,"I really think the world wants to see us get along. We are the two great nuclear powers. We have 90% of the nuclear — and that's not a good thing, it's a bad thing."

  • 16:51 (IST)

    US president congratulates Russian leader for hosting World Cup

  • 16:45 (IST)

    US president Donald Trump, Russian president Vladimir Putin finally meet

  • 16:36 (IST)

    Trump arrives at Helsinki presidential palace

    President Donald Trump arrived at the Finnish presidential palace in Helsinki for his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump \was greeted at the door to the palace by the Finish president, about 20 minutes after Putin arrived. The summit was already running about 45 minutes behind schedule after Putin arrived late.

  • 16:30 (IST)

    President Donald Trump arrives at presidential palace in Helsinki

  • 16:27 (IST)

    Historic meet to be followed by lunch in Hall of Mirrors

    President Vladimir Putin and US president Donald Trump are expected to continue their discussion over lunch in the Hall of Mirrors before taking questions at a joint news conference, scheduled for around 2.50 pm.

    Putin flew to Helsinki for the summit a day after he attended the World Cup final in Moscow, and a lengthy convoy of black vehicles awaited him on the tarmac.

LIVE latest updates: Russian president begins joint press conference, says Russia never interfered and doesn’t plan to interfere in US domestic politics, including elections.

US president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin finished having a closed-door meeting which has been going on for over two hours. Trump said the meeting was a "good start".

The two leaders finally met at the Finnish presidential palace in Helsinki as the US president congratulated the latter for hosting the World Cup. Some of the topics likely to be discussed are nuclear proliferation, Russian election meddling, Syria, Iran, Ukraine, etc, The New York Times reported.

Monday's meeting was condemned in advance by members of Congress from both parties after the US indictment last week of 12 Russian military intelligence officers accused of hacking Democrats in the 2016 election to help Trump's presidential campaign. Undeterred, the American president is set to go face-to-face with Putin, the authoritarian leader for whom he has expressed admiration.

Trump, who has been trying to lower expectations about what the meeting will achieve, told reporters during a breakfast Monday morning with Finland's president that he thought the summit would go "fine."

 Trump-Putin Helsinki Summit highlights: US president says talks went very well, calls Russia probe a disaster

US president Donald Trump attends a working breakfast with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in Helsinki, Finland, Monday. AP

The meeting comes as questions swirl about whether Trump will sharply and publicly rebuke his Russian counterpart for the election meddling that prompting a special counsel probe that Trump has repeatedly labelled a witch hunt.

Trump continued to undermine the investigation in a series of tweets from Helsinki before the meeting, blaming it for fraying US-Russian relations.

"Our relationship with Russia has never been worse," he wrote, blaming "many years of US foolishness and stupidity and now, the rigged witch hunt!"

He also continued to blame his predecessor, Barack Obama, for failing to stop Russia's efforts to sway the 2016 election in his favour, claiming that when Obama "was informed by the FBI about Russian meddling, he said it couldn't happen, was no big deal, and did nothing about it."

The Obama administration did, in fact, take action, including confronting Putin in person as well as expelling nearly three dozen Russian diplomats the US said were actually intelligence operatives and imposing new sanctions.

While Trump was eager for a made-for-TV spectacle that will dominate headlines like his sit-down with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last month, the Kremlin's primary mission was simply to have the summit occur. Putin hopes the meeting, mere hours after he presided over the World Cup finals, will help him forge good personal ties with Trump and focus on areas where Moscow and Washington may be able to find common ground, such as Syria.

The two leaders first meet one-on-one in the Finnish presidential palace's opulent Gothic Hall, then continue their discussions with an expanded group of aides and over lunch in the Hall of Mirrors, once the emperor's throne room. The leaders will then take questions at a press conference before going their separate ways.

Putin will likely not be shooting for official recognition of Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea or easing of the crippling US sanctions, aware that the US Congress would never allow such action. But he would welcome a symbolic end to Western protests over Crimea and Moscow's attempts to destabilise elections and traditional Western alliances and norms.

Trump unleashed his own attacks on those very institutions before arriving in Finland. In an interview with CBS that aired Sunday, Trump described the European Union, a bloc of nations that includes many of America's closest allies, as a "foe."

That attack on the alliance came on the heels of Trump's jarring appearance at a NATO summit in Brussels, where he harshly criticised traditional allies over "delinquent" defence spending only to later confirm his commitment to the military alliance that has long been a bulwark against Russian aggression.

"NATO is now strong and rich!" Trump wrote in a celebratory tweet Monday morning. During his breakfast, he said NATO had "never been more together" and said the summit had been "a little bit tough at the beginning, but it turned out to be love." Ahead of his sit-down with Putin, who has cracked down on the free press, Trump has continued to unleash a series of attacks on the media, including as Air Force One descended into Helsinki.

"Unfortunately, no matter how well I do at the summit, if I was given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russia over the years, I would return to criticism that it wasn't good enough. That I should have gotten Saint Petersburg in addition!" Trump tweeted. "Much of our news media is indeed the enemy of the people and all the Dems know how to do is resist and obstruct!"

"Russia has done nothing to deserve us meeting them in this way," said Nina Jankowicz, a global fellow at the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute who specialises in Russia, Ukraine and disinformation. For Putin, she added, "Not only is this a PR coup no matter what happens, Trump could say nothing and it would help to legitimise his regime."

Hovering over Helsinki is the spectre of the 2016 election interference and Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russia. Trump said in Britain last week—another chaotic stop on his European tour—that he would raise the issue of election meddling with Putin even as he played down its impact.

"I don't think you'll have any 'Gee, I did it. I did it. You got me,'" said Trump, invoking a television detective. "There won't be a Perry Mason here, I don't think. But you never know what happens, right? But I will absolutely firmly ask the question."

Trump also said in the CBS interview he had given no thought to asking Putin to extradite the dozen Russian military intelligence officers indicted this past week in on charges related to the hacking of Democratic targets. But after being asked about that by his interviewer, Trump said "certainly I'll be asking about it" although extradition is highly unlikely. The US doesn't have an extradition treaty with Moscow and can't force the Russians to hand over citizens. Russia's constitution also prohibits turning over citizens to foreign governments.

Putin is likely to strongly reaffirm his denial of any meddling and cast the US charges as unfounded. The Russian foreign ministry rejected last week's indictment as part of a "shameful comedy" staged by those in the US who try to prevent the normalisation of Russia-US ties, arguing that it doesn't contain evidence to back the accusations.

On Syria, a possible deal could see Moscow helping mediate the withdrawal of Iranian forces and their Hezbollah proxies from the areas alongside Syria's border with Israel: A diplomatic coup that would reflect Russia's carefully cultivated ties with both Israel and Iran.

While both Putin and Trump spoke about the need to discuss arms control issues, they are unlikely to make any quick deals. They may underline the importance of continuing the discussions, setting the stage for discussions on expert level.

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Updated Date: Jul 16, 2018 22:47:57 IST