The Russian witch hunt is over now
US-Russia summit: "The world wants us to get along"
Helsinki / Vienna. The face-to-face conversation that US President Donald Trump had with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki lasted more than two hours. The meeting took place behind closed doors, consultants were not present, only two interpreters - although Putin speaks excellent English. The meeting was overshadowed by the allegations of alleged hacker attacks by the Russian secret service during the US election campaign in 2016. Shortly before the start of the meeting, Trump referred to this Relationship between the USA and Russia as historically bad and then caused a scandal: "Our relationship with Russia was NEVER worse, thanks to many years of American folly and stupidity and now because of the manipulated witch hunt!", So Trump's tweet.
Russia pleased with Trump's position
US Democrats, commentators and quite a few Republicans stood on their heads and pointed to what they considered to be a curious fact that Trump blamed the US for the poor bilateral relationship and not the Russian hacker attacks that were in the room. There has never been anything like it, according to the thorough analysis of the leading US quality media. The reactions ranged from "highly unusual" to "bizarre". This would mean that Trump's position would be exactly the same as Putin's. The leader of the country that currently poses the greatest threat to US democracy.
Earlier, on the annexation of Ukraine by Russia, Trump said that his predecessor, Barack Obama, was responsible for it. Under him, Trump, such a thing would not have happened. The whole world, according to Trump, wants the USA and Russia to get along well. In any case, the Russian Foreign Ministry was pleased and gave Trump's tweet a "we agree". Immediately after the meeting, Putin and Trump said that the meeting had been a success. A "highly productive dialogue" was conducted that was "good for the whole world," said Trump, who, unlike his appearance with NATO's allies last week, was clearly keen to achieve harmony.
The US president reiterated that the relationship had never been worse, but "that changed about four hours ago." The first steps towards a better future have already been taken, and Putin has also pleaded for looking ahead now. The Cold War is over, it is time to tackle the new challenges, said the Russian President. It is now a matter of working together and restoring trust. Nuclear disarmament is a common goal, including cooperation in the field of cyber security.
According to Putin, one field of possible cooperation is the war in Syria. At the joint press conference, Russian President Trump presented a soccer World Cup ball and combined this with a call for more engagement in the civil war country. "The ball is now on their side," said Putin. After Trump's words, the alleged interference of Russia in the US elections was also discussed for a long time at the summit. At the press conference, Putin reiterated his position that Russia had never interfered. Trump was demonstratively satisfied with it. "I have great faith in my intelligence people, but I can tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today," said Trump. He himself also firmly denied allegations of collusion with Russia when he won the election in 2016. "We had a brilliant campaign and that is why I am president," he said.
Twelve secret service employees under suspicion
The US Department of Justice on Friday accused twelve employees of the Russian military intelligence agency GRU of attacking computers belonging to the US Democrats and Hillary Clinton's campaign camp. It was the first time that the ministry held the secret service, and thus Putin's administration, directly responsible for the attacks, which are likely to have significantly harmed Clinton. The Democrats then called for the Helsinki meeting to be canceled. The expectation was at least that Trump would confront his Russian counterpart with the utmost severity with the suspicion, and the reactions of the Democrats were correspondingly indignant after the meeting. In the entire history of the United States, no president has supported an "adversary" in the way Trump has now, said parliamentary group leader Chuck Schumer.
Senator John McCain described Trump's appearance in Helsinki as "the low point in the history of the American presidency". Criticism, however, did not only come from the democratic camp. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham lamented a "bad day for the United States". Trump's remarks on the cyberattacks would be seen by Russia as a "sign of weakness." The fact that the meeting in the Finnish presidential palace took place in private had already caused uncertainty in the USA. Among other things, the fear was voiced that Trump could make disastrous concessions to Putin. The fear was that Trump would give things up without even understanding what he was doing - while Putin would recognize and take advantage of every possibility.
EU, Russia and China equally "opponents"
Western diplomats also expressed the suspicion that Trump would use the common hostility against NATO, the EU and the Russia investigation in the US to get off to a good start with Putin. If things go bad, Trump will treat Putin better than German Chancellor Angela Merkel, it was said in advance. Before the meeting, Trump had lumped the EU, Russia and China together and called all three "opponents". This also sent a very clear signal to Putin that the USA should further rapprochement with Russia. EU Council President Donald Tusk immediately deployed as a fire brigade. "America and the EU are best friends," Tusk wrote on Twitter.
The German Minister of State for Europe in the Foreign Office, Michael Roth, was a little more critical. Trump is trying to divide Europe. Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl said, "Austria certainly does not see the USA as an enemy, and neither does the EU." The German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas reacted more sharply: In view of such statements, the European Union must "re-measure" its partnership with the USA. "When the American President calls the European Union an 'opponent', it unfortunately shows once again how broad the political Atlantic has become since Donald Trump took office," said Maas. The Kremlin, on the other hand, welcomed the summit. The relationship between the two heads of state is good, so the summit is expected to be a success, it said here. "They respect each other. And they can talk to each other pretty well," said Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Putin's limousine - bigger than Trump's Cadillac
Demonstrations had taken place in Helsinki before the summit and several thousand people had gathered. Above all, they denounced attacks on human rights and freedom of the press. "Weepy, demented male baby meets vicious master spy. What could go wrong with it?" Was an unflattering reading on a banner. On another sign, demonstrators demanded: "Free the children, imprison Trump" - alluding to the controversial family segregation on the US-Mexico border.
A few hours before the meeting, however, the Russians also took on a sharper tone. The statements of the US president on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline are a monstrous example of the unscrupulous competition of the USA, it said from Moscow. Trump had described the line through which Russian natural gas is to flow to Germany and the EU as a tragedy. Germany is largely dependent on energy imports from Russia, which is bad for both the Federal Republic and NATO. The other choreography was then remarkable: Putin arrived late at the summit, as so often, and the conversation with Trump began 50 minutes late . In addition, the limousine with which Putin came to the meeting was larger than "The Beast", the Cadillac of which the US President is clearly very proud. Little things that, as we know, are of great importance to Trump.
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