Russia is ready to discuss with the United States allegations it interfered in U.S. elections, something it denies, RIA news agency reported on Monday ahead of a summit between the countries' presidents.
"We are ready to discuss, ready to undertake mutual obligations of non-intervention into internal matters," RIA quoted a Russian source as saying.
The source also said Moscow was proposing to the United States a resumption of dialogue on strategic stability and would like to address questions related to arms control, Syria and Iran during the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.
Trump and Putin to hold first summit talks as twitchy West looks on
After months of exchanging long-distance compliments, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin sit down on Monday for their first ever summit, a potential political minefield at home for the U.S. 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 U.S.-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.US President Trump has 'low expectations' for Helsinki summit"We can say confidently that Putin's political risks are lower than those of President Trump," said Andrey Kortunov, head of RIAC, a Moscow think-tank close to the Russian Foreign Ministry."Putin has less to lose and more to gain because he does not have a domestic opposition, a potentially hostile legislature, and is not begin investigated like Trump. But if you look at the U.S. media they mostly focus on potential risks. Nobody there really believes that any good can come out of this summit."A probe over allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election has clouded Trump's presidency. Trump has denied any collusion with the Russians by his campaign and Russia denies it meddled.The Helsinki summit is the capstone to a nearly week-long trip for Trump during which he has sown doubts about his commitment to the NATO military alliance, Washington's so-called special relationship with Britain, and U.S. relations with the European Union that he called "a foe" in trade terms.Against that backdrop and swirling uncertainty about what Trump might do or say next, his summit with Putin, which will include a one-on-one session with the Russian leader with only interpreters present, has both U.S. allies and U.S. politicians worried lest he make hasty and sweeping concessions.U.S. FearsSome politicians in the West believe the summit is happening at one of the most crucial junctures for the West since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union. Certain NATO allies fear Putin might seek a grand deal that would undermine the U.S.-led transatlantic alliance.Trump has said that he will raise the alleged Russian election meddling with Putin but does not expect to get anywhere, has spoken vaguely about the possibility of halting NATO war games in the Baltic region, and has said repeatedly that it would be good if he could get along with Russia.Trump says US-Russia ties have 'never been worse'When asked last month if he would recognise Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea, he replied: "We're going to have to see."On Friday, 12 Russians were indicted on charges of interfering in the U.S. 2016 election, a development that prompted some Democratic leaders to call on Trump to cancel the Putin meeting, a demand he quickly dismissed.On the summit's eve, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, a political opponent of Trump, said he had told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the Helsinki meeting was a mistake."First, I don't believe the meeting should take place but if it is going to happen, President Trump must press Putin hard on the issue of election interference. He can't simply raise it, accept Putin's denial and then let him off the hook," Schumer said in a statement."Second, the President must demand that the 12 Russians named in the indictment be sent to the U.S. to stand trial. And third, President Trump should not agree to weaken, lift, or curtail any of the sanctions on Russia."Any Trump request for Russia to extradite hacking suspects is likely to fall on deaf ears, however, as the Kremlin, citing the Russian constitution, has a policy of not handing over suspects wanted by other countries.Many Western politicians remain angry over Russia's annexation of Crimea, its backing of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, and its support for Syria's Bashar al-Assad.Other accusations, denied by Moscow, include that it meddled in European politics, supplied the weapon that shot down a passenger plane in 2014 over Ukraine, and was behind the poisoning of the former Russian spy in Britain.Moscow would love to have U.S. sanctions - initially imposed over the Crimea annexation - eased and eventually lifted. But most in Russia do not expect the summit to produce such an outcome.
Trump says US-Russia ties have 'never been worse'
Hours before he was due to sit down for his first ever summit with Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Donald Trump blamed "U.S. foolishness" for bad relations between Washington and Moscow, while the Kremlin said it expected a tough meeting.Trump's comments show how much domestic political pressure he is under over the meeting in the Finnish capital Helsinki, while the Kremlin's low expectations reflect its belief that the fact the summit is even happening is a Russian win.Critics and his own advisers have urged Trump to use the summit to press Putin hard about election meddling and other "malign" activities. But hours before he was due to meet the Russian president, Trump focused his ire on his own country and the investigation into possible links between his 2016 campaign and Russia. The president has denied any collusion took place."Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!" wrote Trump on Twitter, referring to the investigation into possible collusion.During a breakfast meeting with Finland's president before the meeting with Putin in the Finnish capital, Trump appeared upbeat. Asked what he would say to Putin, Trump said: "We'll do just fine, thank you."Trump and his wife Melania returned to their hotel after the breakfast and were expected to remain there for a few hours before the afternoon summit. Putin was due in Helsinki around lunch time.The two leaders will first meet one-on-one with only their interpretors, followed by a working lunch accompanied by advisers, and a joint news conference.While Trump has been abroad since last week, the special prosecutor investigating allegations that Russia interfered to help him win the 2016 presidential election indicted 12 Russians on Friday for stealing Democratic Party documents.Trump's foes at home have been scathing about his apparent refusal to criticise Putin. His 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton tweeted: "Great World Cup. Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?"Neither side expects major breakthroughs from the talks and the outcome is uncertain given sharp differences between Washington and Moscow over everything from Syria to Ukraine.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 that cannot be isolated or ignored.The Kremlin made clear beforehand it did not expect an easy meeting, taking Trump to task over his criticism of a planned Russian gas pipeline to Germany and suggesting it would be hard to find common ground on Syria because of differences over Iran.First StepRussia hoped however that the summit would be "the first step" in overcoming a crisis in relations, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russia's RT TV station. "Presidents Trump and Putin respect each other and they get along well. There is no clear agenda. It will be determined by the heads of state themselves as they go along."Trump wants Russia to help Moscow to use its influence in Syria, where it is backing President Bashar al-Assad militarily, to push Iranian and Iranian-allied forces out."Of course Syria will be discussed by the two presidents," said Peskov. "We all know what Washington thinks of Iran. But at the same time Iran is a good partner to us in terms of trade, economic cooperation and political dialogue. So this will not be an easy exchange of views."Trump has predicted he will be accused of being too soft on Putin no matter how the summit goes. "If I was given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russia...I would return to criticism that it wasn’t good enough – that I should have gotten Saint Petersburg in addition!" he tweeted on Sunday.He has said he will raise the issue of Russian election meddling, but does not expect to get anywhere.Beyond warm words, the summit could yield an agreement to begin repairing battered U.S.-Russia relations, and maybe a deal to start talks on issues such as nuclear arms control and Syria.The Helsinki summit is the capstone to a nearly week-long trip for Trump during which he has sown doubts about his commitment to the NATO military alliance, Washington's so-called special relationship with Britain and U.S. relations with the European Union that he called "a foe" on trade.China looks to get cozy with EU in annual talks as Trump tariffs biteKremlin takes Trump to task over his gas pipeline commentsTrump says Obama did nothing about Russian election meddling