Moscow and Washington have reached an agreement on Russian President Vladimir Putin having a summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, a foreign affairs adviser to Putin said Wednesday.
Presidential adviser Yuri Ushakov made the announcement after a meeting in Moscow between Putin and U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton. The time, venue and other details of the summit will be announced jointly by the Kremlin and the White House on Thursday, Ushakov said, in comments echoed by Bolton.
"President Trump asked me to come and speak to speak to Russian authorities about the possibility of a meeting between him and President Putin. There will be an announcement on that tomorrow," Bolton said.
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Bolton also said he believes that bringing the two leaders together would be a success in itself. "I think the fact of the summit itself is a deliverable. There are a lot of issues to talk about that have accumulated, and I think this was one of the reasons why President Trump believed so strongly that it was time to have this kind of meeting. And as you can see, President Putin agreed."
Ushakov said the summit would take place in a third country, but did not name it as part of the plan for a joint declaration with Washington. The site will be "very convenient for both us and the U.S. side," he said.
Austria previously offered to host the summit in Vienna. Some media reports have mentioned Finland's capital, Helsinki, as a possible venue.
The summit will include one-on-one talks between the presidents and conclude with a joint news conference, Ushakov said. He said Trump and Putin are expected to issue a joint statement.
Ushakov said the Kremlin was satisfied with the talks with Bolton, describing them as "constructive and businesslike."
Putin said he hoped Bolton's visit would be the start of a step up. He added that Russia never wanted a confrontation with the United States and offered to discuss what could be done to "restore full-fledged relations based on equality and mutual respect."
Bolton replied that he was looking forward to discussing "how to improve Russia-U.S. relations and find areas where we can agree and make progress together."
"Even in earlier days, when our countries had differences, our leaders and their advisers met," he said. "I think that was good for both countries, good for stability in the world."
Bolton added that "President Trump feels very strongly on that subject."
The discussions touched on the state of bilateral ties, nuclear arms control, the situation in Syria, the Ukrainian crisis, developments around North Korea and the U.S. exit from the Iranian nuclear deal — topics Ushakov said would shape the summit agenda.
He said the issue of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election was raised during the meeting, and the Kremlin reiterated its denial of any interference with the vote.
"It was stated clearly by our side that the Russian state hasn't interfered with the U.S. domestic politics, moreover hasn't interfered in the 2016 election," Ushakov said.
U.S. sanctions on Russia were not discussed, he said.
Ushakov wouldn't comment on what Russia expects from the summit, but voiced hope it would give a "strong impulse" to normalize U.S.-Russia relations and would be "this summer's most important international event."
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also weighed in, saying there may be a series of "trade-offs" that would allow Russia to rejoin the G7 without giving Crimea back to Ukraine. He would not elaborate but stressed that the U.S. position remains that Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014, a move that led to its suspension from the G-7.
"The president deeply believes that having Russia be part of these important geo-strategic conversations is inevitable," Pompeo told the committee in response to questions about Trump's comments that Russia should be included in G-7 discussions. "There is a long history of that."