Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump will sit down together in Finland’s capital, Helsinki, on July 16, amid growing bilateral tensions, and just weeks after the U.S. president met face-to-face with the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un.
"In accordance with the reached agreement, Vladimir Putin and the President of the United States of America Donald Trump will meet in Helsinki on July 16,” reads a statement from the Kremlin and posted to its website on Thursday.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, relations between two of the world’s foremost nuclear powers have cycled. The relationship has soured in recent years, mostly due to the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, in which the U.S. accuses Russia of being involved militarily. In addition, many in Washington accuse Moscow of having interfered in the 2016 presidential election – an accusation the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.
Following a one-on-one meeting between U.S. national security adviser John Bolton and President Putin at the Kremlin last Wednesday, the two sides agreed on a venue and time for the upcoming summit.
"The talks are meant to discuss the current state and prospects for the further development of Russian-American relations, as well as current issues on the international agenda," reads the Kremlin's statement.
According to some accounts, it was Trump who, during a phone call with Putin in March, suggested the two leaders meet. Trump had allegedly ignored the advice of his staff and made a call to the Kremlin to congratulate the Russian president on being elected to a fourth term.
“I’ve said it from Day One, getting along with Russia and with China and with everybody is a very good thing,” said the U.S. President. “It’s good for the world. It’s good for us. It’s good for everybody.”
"There are many topics that I’m sure President Trump and President Putin will discuss, and each of them is important to trying to put the relationship back in a place where there are a common set of understandings,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on CNN on June 24.
"The Russians, unlike the Europeans, don’t share our value set. It is a different conversation, but it is still a conversation that’s worth having."
The U.S.-Russia summit will follow Trump’s attendance at the annual NATO summit in Brussels.