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Ahead of summit with Putin, Donald Trump says Russia ties have 'NEVER been worse'

Ahead of summit with Putin, Donald Trump says Russia ties have
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US President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Monday that USRussian ties have never been worse

US President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Monday that US-Russian ties have never been worse.

"Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of US foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!," he said shortly before he is scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

After months of exchanging long-distance compliments, Trump and Putin sit down on Monday for their first ever summit, a potential political minefield at home for the US president but a geopolitical win for his Russian counterpart.

Neither side expects major breakthroughs from the talks in the Finnish capital beyond warm words, an agreement to begin repairing battered US-Russia relations, and maybe a deal to start talks on issues such as nuclear arms control and Syria.

The two men, who have praised each other's leadership qualities from afar, could also agree to start restocking their respective embassies and returning confiscated diplomatic property after a wave of expulsions and retaliatory action prompted by the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain.

Ahead of the summit, both sides talked down the event, however, with Trump telling CBS he was going in with "low expectations" and John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser, saying on ABC's "This Week" that the United States was not looking for "deliverables" and that the meeting would be "unstructured."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Russia's RT TV station that he also had low expectations. He would regard the summit as a success if there was an agreement to merely reopen severed lines of communications across the board, he said.

For Putin, the fact that the summit is even happening despite Russia's semi-pariah status among some Americans and U.S. allies is a geopolitical win because, in Russian eyes, it shows that Washington recognises Moscow as a great power whose interests must be taken into account.

For Russia, it is also a powerful sign that Western efforts to isolate Moscow have failed.

But for Trump, whose White House victory was actively supported by 12 Russian military intelligence agents, according to a recent U.S. indictment, and whose entourage is still being investigated for possible collusion with Moscow, the meeting is freighted with domestic political risk.

For Putin, the fact that the summit is even happening despite Russia's semi-pariah status among some Americans and U.S. allies is a geopolitical win because, in Russian eyes, it shows that Washington recognises Moscow as a great power whose interests must be taken into account.

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