President Donald Trump has confirmed that he will meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a bilateral summit in July — about a month after Trump’s historic summit with North Korea.
The July 16 summit between Trump and Putin won’t be the first time the two leaders have met, but the distinct bilateral meeting will mark a first.
Here’s what we know so far about the July 16 summit, including where it’s being held, who is expected to attend and what it means for U.S.-Russia relations.
When is the July 16 U.S.-Russia summit?
The summit will be held on July 16 in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, the White House and the Kremlin announced on Thursday morning.
What’s on the agenda for the July 16 summit?
Trump and his Administration officials have said the main topics that will be discussed at the summit are foreign policy and Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
“There are a broad range of issues the president’s going to talk about that need to be addressed,” Vice-President Mike Pence told Bloomberg News on Wednesday. When pressed if that list of issues included Russian interference, Pence conceded: “He’s discussed that with President Putin before. I would anticipate that he will discuss that with him again.”
What does the summit mean for U.S.-Russia relations?
It might be too early to say conclusively, but the summit is nevertheless significant.
American relations with Russia are the tensest they’ve been since the Cold War — in large part because of Putin’s aggressive isolationism, which has only intensified in recent years. Reports that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election — which have been confirmed by U.S. intelligence service — have threatened to bring rising tensions to a head.
But Trump has repeatedly expressed a willingness to thaw these tensions. He frequently dismissed suggestions of Russian interference in the 2016 election as a politically motivated effort to delegitimize him, tweeting about it shortly before the summit date was officially announced Thursday.
“Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election! Where is the DNC Server, and why didn’t Shady James Comey and the now disgraced FBI agents take and closely examine it? Why isn’t Hillary/Russia being looked at? So many questions, so much corruption!,” Trump tweeted.
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