Trump-Putin summit: US seeks better ties with Russia
16 Jul 2018, 19:35 | updated: 16 Jul 2018, 20:02
US President Donald Trump has said getting on with Russia is ‘a good thing, not a bad thing’ at the start of his first summit with Vladimir Putin.
Trump said he hoped for an ‘extraordinary relationship’ as the two presidents met in Helsinki, Finland.
Earlier, Trump blamed US-Russia tensions on previous administrations.
Relations were severely strained by Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and by claims that Russia helped Trump win the 2016 election.
Some US politicians called for the summit to be cancelled after 12 Russian military intelligence agents were charged on Friday with hacking the presidential campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, reports the BBC.
But writing on Twitter, Trump put the blame for the deterioration in relations with Russia on ‘years of US foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt’.
In response, Russia's foreign affairs ministry tweeted: ‘We agree.’
Trump's tweet is likely to alarm White House advisers already nervous about the risks of ceding too much ground to the Russian leader during the talks.
The summit - in which the two leaders are being joined only by their interpreters - comes after a tumultuous European tour that saw Trump sharply criticise longstanding allies of the US over trade and military spending.