U.S. President Donald Trump sat down with Vladimir Putin for a long-awaited summit on Monday saying he wanted good relations with Russia, after blaming Washington’s own past “foolishness and stupidity” for the countries’ hostile ties, reports Reuters.
Trump opened the meeting with warm words for Putin, seated next to the Russian leader in an ornate presidential palace in neutral Finland, and said it was a longstanding goal of his to improve the relationship between the two countries.
“I think we will have an extraordinary relationship. I hope so. I’ve been saying it, and I’m sure you’ve heard over the years, and as I campaigned, that getting along with Russia is good thing, not a bad thing,” he said.
But to Trump’s critics, the friendly words had already been overshadowed by an extraordinary denunciation of his own country’s prior policies, which Trump tweeted out hours before the summit.
Putin and Trump met alone apart from interpreters before a working lunch with aides. Trump said they would talk about a range of subjects, listing trade, the military, nuclear weapons and China.
While Trump has been abroad since last week, the special prosecutor investigating allegations that Russia interfered to help him win the 2016 presidential election indicted 12 Russians on Friday for stealing Democratic Party documents.