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Trump and Putin Choose Helsinki for First Summit Meeting

Trump and Putin Choose Helsinki for First Summit Meeting


MOSCOW — President Trump plans to meet President Vladimir V. Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16 for one-on-one talks, the White House said on Thursday, a politically delicate meeting that will take place while the special counsel continues to investigate the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia.

It will be the first formal summit meeting for Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin, who have spoken together twice on the sidelines of annual gatherings of world leaders, and it will come at a particularly critical moment, with midterm elections looming in the United States.

“The two leaders will discuss relations between the United States and Russia, and a range of national security issues,” the White House said in a statement.

The Helsinki talks, which will come on the heels of a NATO summit meeting in Brussels on July 11 and 12, could exacerbate American relations with European allies even as it eases tensions with Russia.

Mr. Trump this week sent his national security adviser, John R. Bolton, to Moscow, where he met on Wednesday with Mr. Putin.

Afterward, an aide to Mr. Putin, Yuri Ushakov, reiterated Moscow’s denial that it tried to influence the United States presidential election in 2016, comments that Mr. Trump cited on Thursday in a Twitter post before the meeting with Mr. Putin was announced.

“Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!” Mr. Trump wrote.

The potential for such a high-level meeting has concerned some American allies in Europe, particularly because of recent tensions between the Trump administration and traditional American allies including Canada, France and Germany.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Mr. Trump said that it was important to get along with Russia and other countries.

But a meeting with Mr. Putin, and improving the relationship between the United States and Russia, have long appeared to be priorities for Mr. Trump.

Early in the presidential campaign, before having secured the Republican nomination, Mr. Trump said he thought he and Mr. Putin would hit it off.

“I think I’d get along very well with Vladimir Putin,” Mr. Trump said in the summer of 2015.

Mr. Trump has also said he would consider inviting Mr. Putin to the White House, which would be the first visit by the Russian leader since 2005.

Andrew E. Kramer reported from Moscow, and Eileen Sullivan from Washington.





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