Trump blames US ‘foolishness’ for strained relations with Russia

Even as the world waited for the outcome of the one-on-one meeting between the US President and President Putin of Russia, Donald Trump blamed his own country for its strained relations with Moscow

IANS Photo
IANS Photo

NH Web Desk

The unpredictable US President Donald Trump on Monday blamed his own country and his predecessors’ foolishness for strained relationship with Moscow. In characteristic tweets before the one-on-one meeting with President Putin of Russia in the Presidential Palace at Helsinki (Finland), President Trump declared, “ Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”

He went on to name his predecessor in another tweet, which seemed to suggest that he held Obama responsible for the ongoing investigation into Russian intelligence interfering in his favour in the US Presidential election in 2016. In this tweet, he said, “ President Obama thought that Crooked Hillary was going to win the election, so when he was informed by the FBI about Russian Meddling, he said it couldn’t happen, was no big deal, & did NOTHING about it. When I won it became a big deal and the Rigged Witch Hunt headed by Strzok!

President Trump congratulated President Putin for hosting the FIFA World Cup and told the Russian President that he watched the final and earlier the semi-final matches.

The meeting without any agenda is being held at the initiative of President Putin who had suggested the meeting in a phone conversation in March. US and EU sanctions against Russia after it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 are said to have crippled the Russian economy and President Putin seems to be keen to extracting assurances from Trump to ease or withdraw the sanctions or at least commit against expanding them.

Opinion in the US is divided, with several Democrats and even a few Republicans having advised President Trump to cancel the summit. The meeting is also being held immediate after the US Justice Department indicted 12 Russian intelligence agents for interfering in the US elections in 2016, an investigation that President Trump has described as a witchhunt.

  • President Putin kept the US President waiting and arrived late for the meeting.
  • President Trump told the media that the two leaders would discuss everything including Syria, the Middle East, China and nuclear proliferation as well as trade.
  • The President did not mention the investigation into Russian interference in the US election though observers believe President Trump would try to get the Russian President himself to deny strongly any such meddling.
  • While President Trump is being goaded by the US media to raise issues related to Crimea, Russian support to President Assad of Syria, the allegation that Russian agents used nerve agents in London, the outcome of the meeting remains unpredictable.

This is not the first time Helsinki has hosted a US-Russia or erstwhile Soviet Union summit. Being a neutral country since the second World War, Finland has actually hosted three earlier summits between the two countries.

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