Trump and Putin end historic summit that Trump says 'changed' bad relations

Trump, Putin meet for private talks in Helsinki

Neither leader revealed what was discussed. Trump said the meeting was a "good start".

He was meeting with Finland's President Sauli Niinistö (SAW-lee KNEE-nes-tuh) in the hours before his highly anticipated summit with Putin.

"Unfortunately, no matter how well I do at the Summit, if I was given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russian Federation over the years, I would return to criticism that it wasn't good enough - that I should have gotten Saint Petersburg in addition!"

Speaking through a translator, the Russian leader said "the time has come to have a thorough discussion on various worldwide problems and sensitive issues". He added: "There are quite a few of them for us to pay attention to".

Their opening one-on-one session had been scheduled to run 90 minutes.

But the USA leader would not say whether he would demand the extradition of 12 Russian intelligence officers who were indicted last week by United States special prosecutor Robert Mueller.

"It is now time to talk in depth about our bilateral ties and sore points in the world", he said through a translator.

Both leaders met briefly for a press photo op and spoke with the press prior to starting the meeting.

Trump has adopted the phrase "Rigged Witch Hunt!" to describe the investigation by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, into meddling in the 2016 presidential election, which last week indicted a dozen Russian military intelligence officers for hacking and leaking Democratic party emails. But many state lawmakers and members of Congress say it's taken far too long, and that Trump's refusal to condemn Russia's interference in the 2016 election complicates efforts to combat future attacks. He nodded along to some of Trump's remarks before they were translated, showcasing his fluency in English.

Trump said, as he has countless times, that there was "no collusion" between his campaign and the Russians.

The Russian in one of the black and white ads translates to: "Unpleasant things will happen to journalists who ask Putin questions".

Trump did not respond; Putin appeared to smirk. They shared a brief handshake before reporters were ushered out so they could begin their one-on-one talks in the palace's opulent Gothic Hall.

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"The Cold War is a thing of the past", Putin said, speaking first during a joint press conference.

The US and Russian leaders opened a historic summit in Helsinki on Monday with Donald Trump promising an "extraordinary relationship" and Vladimir Putin saying it was high time to thrash out disputes around the world. The drama was playing out against a backdrop of fraying Western alliances, a new peak in the Russian Federation investigation and fears that Moscow's aggression may go unchallenged.

On Friday he pointed to the "rigged witch hunt" for hurting the US and its relationship with Russian Federation in the days leading up to the July 16 meeting.

Though both the United States and the Soviet Union were prepared to target civilian population centres during the Cold War, today the US's nuclear missiles exist mainly to target and destroy Russia's nuclear weapons sites as a means of blunting a Russian counterattack.

What's clear is that Trump isn't going to emerge from Monday's summit/meeting - sum-meeting? - with much to say about Putin that's negative.

Earlier, he had tweeted before leaving for the capital of Finland.

Famous victims of his lack of punctuality included Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Pope Francis among many others.

The president's top national security advisers have advised him publicly and privately to adopt a more hawkish tone towards Russia going into the summit, especially given the Justice Department's announcement Friday - days before his meeting - of a new round of indictments against 12 Russians for their alleged attempts to interfere in the presidential election. Two held up a handwritten banner that read "God Bless D & M Trump".

Trump and his aides have repeatedly tried to lower expectations about what the summit will achieve. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

Trump caused turmoil at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit meeting last week, doing his best to uproot previously made plans and flex his country's financial muscle.

Russian Federation hoped however that the summit would be "the first step" in overcoming a crisis in relations, he said. Trump said they would talk about a range of subjects, listing trade, the military, nuclear weapons and China. Not mentioned: Election meddling or Syria.

Russian commentators and editorialists who consider the European Union hostile, troublesome or irrelevant also welcomed Trump's criticism of longtime European allies as "foes" of the U.S.

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