On eve of Russian Federation summit, Trump calls European Union 'a foe'

Trump blames Washington for poor Russia ties ahead of Putin summit

Trump seems much more concerned with making sure blame is correctly placed than he is with pressing Putin on holding those allegedly responsible accountable.

The summit, which was being closely watched by rattled world capitals, was condemned in advance by members of Congress from both parties after the U.S. indictment last week of 12 Russian military intelligence officers accused of hacking Democrats in the 2016 election to help Trump's presidential campaign.

Trump said he and Putin would discuss a range of issues, from trade to the military, along with missiles and China. "But I think we will end up having an extraordinary relationship". I think hopefully we can do something about that because it's not a positive force it's a negative force. "I hope so", he said. "I've been saying it, and I'm sure you've heard over the years, and as I campaigned, that getting along with Russian Federation is good thing, not a bad thing", he said.

In a March 1 speech, Putin detailed several new nuclear weapons, each time stressing that USA defenses could not handle the new designs. We have 90 percent of the nuclear, and that's not a good thing.

Despite the widespread media narrative, the impediments to Russo-American progress have less to do with Trump's aptitude for foreign policy than Russian realpolitik.

Before the meeting, the president repeated his claim that Barack Obama had failed to act over the Russian attack. He wrote on Twitter that Obama "thought that Crooked Hillary was going to win the election", so he did "NOTHING" about it when informed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Trump has also indicated a willingness to speak to his Russian counterpart about the 12 Russians recently indicted for election interference as part of the Mueller probe.

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Political opponents have urged Trump, who denies collusion, to use the summit to challenge Putin about the hacking and other malign activities.

That attack on the alliance came on the heels of Trump's jarring appearance at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels, where he harshly criticised traditional allies over "delinquent" defence spending only to later confirm his commitment to the military alliance that has always been a bulwark against Russian aggression.

The President continues, "I respect the leaders of those countries".

The two leaders finally met at the presidential palace in Helsinki - after the notoriously tardy Putin's flew in at least half an hour late, leaving Trump waiting and delaying the meeting by an hour.

"I've already increased defense spending, modernized our nuclear weapons.We can do more, so if you want to do an arms race you'll lose", Trump said, a source recalled to Axios. "There is no clear agenda".

Trump had also issued a series of tweets as he headed for Finland, saying no matter how well he does at the summit with Putin he would "return to criticism that it wasn't good enough".

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