US President Donald Trump has said his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin may prove easier than those with the leaders of European states.
Trump made the remarks on Tuesday morning while speaking to reporters at the White House just before boarding Air Force One for a tour of Europe that includes a NATO meeting in Brussels and a visit to Britain.
“So I have NATO, I have the UK which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin. Frankly Putin may be the easiest of them all. Who would think?” Trump said.
“We’ll see how that goes,” he said, referring to his upcoming summit with the Russian leader in Helsinki.
Trump also vowed not to be “taken advantage” of by the EU, who he has accused of not doing enough to support the transatlantic alliance and taking unfair advantage of the US on trade.
Trump also refused to call Putin a foe of the United States. Asked if Putin is a friend or foe, Trump said, “I really can’t say right now. As far as I’m concerned, a competitor.”
Trump called Putin on March 20 to congratulate him on his reelection, while the US intelligence has concluded that Moscow interfered in the 2016 US election.
Russia has time and again rejected accusations by US intelligence officials that hackers backed by the Kremlin interfered in the US election to assist Trump.
Trump is also accused by Democrats of “colluding” with Putin’s government and is currently under investigation.
Trump and Putin met briefly on the sidelines of last year’s G-20 summit. However, their upcoming meeting scheduled for July 16 in the Finnish capital Helsinki will be the first formal one-on-one meeting between the two leaders since Trump took office in January 2017.
Last month, National Security Adviser John Bolton traveled to Moscow to hammer out details for the highly-anticipated summit. While in Moscow, he met with Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials.
Founder at Vennomax Media Network.