16.05.2021

Putin and Trump agree on a constructive dialogue

The meeting in the presidential palace in the capital of Finland on July 16, 2018 was the first opportunity for the heads of Russia and the United States to discuss various issues outside the framework of multilateral international forums. Prior to that, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump met in July 2017 at the G20 countries summit in German Hamburg and in November 2017 at the APEC summit in Vietnamese Da Nang.

A one-on-one face-to-face conversation between the leaders of Russia and the USA lasted two hours and ten minutes. Donald Trump noted that the face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin was a good start to the negotiations: “I think this is a good start. This is a very, very good start for everyone. ” After that, an expanded meeting was held in the format of a working breakfast with the participation of the Russian and American delegations.

Following the results of the expanded negotiations, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump held a joint press conference. The President of the Russian Federation noted that the negotiations with Donald Trump were “very useful and took place in a businesslike, frank atmosphere”, showing a mutual desire to establish relations between Russia and the United States. Vladimir Putin also said that the heads of state “are looking for options on how to reconcile these differences, how to make our work constructive.”

The President of the Russian Federation emphasized that relations should not be based on momentary domestic political interests in Russia or the United States, but on facts.

Once again, Vladimir Putin officially rejected any allegations of “Russian interference in US elections, saying:“ The Russian state has never intervened and was not going to interfere in US internal affairs, including the electoral process. ” He also called “complete nonsense” the assumption that Russia was allegedly in collusion with Donald Trump during the election campaign in the United States.

In addition, Vladimir Putin recalled the “famous business of Hermitage Capital by Mr. Browder.” The President of the Russian Federation noted that under the leadership of Browder, a group of individuals earned “more than one and a half billion dollars by not paying taxes in either Russia or the United States, after which $ 400 million was directed to help Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

It is likely that after the talks, this information will be sent to the appropriate services in the United States to study it and open an investigation in this regard.

The US President called the talks “direct, open, very productive dialogue.” Donald Trump stated that he had discussed with Vladimir Putin the so-called “interference” of the Russian Federation in the 2016 US elections, and considered the idea of ​​creating a cybersecurity working group proposed by the President of the Russian Federation to be “interesting”.

At the same time, Donald Trump also stated that the United States is going to compete with Russia for the European energy market and oppose the construction of the Nord Stream-2 pipeline. The US President called Vladimir Putin “a good rival,” noting that he considers this assessment a compliment.

One of the concrete outcomes of the negotiations in Helsinki was the decision to create a working group with the participation of business representatives of the Russian Federation and the USA to develop economic cooperation. At the same time, the leaders of Russia and the United States agreed to hold further meetings in a similar format. Donald Trump noted: “We agreed that we will most likely meet often in the future, and we hope that we will solve all the problems that we discussed today.”

Vladimir Putin: Dear Mr. President! Ladies and Gentlemen!

The talks with the President of the United States of America, Mr. Donald Trump, were held in a frank and businesslike atmosphere, I consider them to be very successful and useful.

We examined the current state and prospects of Russian-American relations, key issues on the international agenda. It is obvious to everyone that bilateral relations are going through a difficult period, but these difficulties and the current tense atmosphere have no objective reasons.

The Cold War is long over, the era of sharp ideological confrontation between the two countries is a thing of the past, the situation in the world has changed dramatically. Today, both Russia and the United States face completely different challenges: this is a dangerous imbalance of international security mechanisms, stability, regional crises, the spread of the threats of terrorism and cross-border crime, criminals, growing problems in the global economy, environmental and other risks. You can cope with all this only by joining forces. I hope that we will come to an understanding of this with our American partners.

Today’s talks reflected our joint desire with President Trump to rectify the negative situation in bilateral relations, to outline the first steps to improve them, restore an acceptable level of trust and return to the previous level of cooperation on all issues of mutual interest.

As the largest nuclear powers, we have a special responsibility for international security. I consider it important, we talked about this, to debug the dialogue on strategic stability and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We handed a note to our American colleagues with a number of specific proposals on this subject.

We consider it necessary to continue joint work on the entire range of military-political and disarmament dossiers: this is the extension of the Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty, the dangerous situation surrounding the development of elements of the global US missile defense system, the implementation of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate and Shorter-Range Missiles and the subject of weapons deployment in space.

We are for continued cooperation in the fight against terror and in the field of cybersecurity. And I want to note that our special services work very successfully. The most recent example is the close operational interaction with a group of American security experts in the framework of the World Cup ended yesterday in Russia. In general, it is useful to transfer contacts through special services to a systemic basis. Reminded the President of the United States of the proposal to re-establish the anti-terror working group.

We talked a lot about regional crises. Not everywhere and not in all our positions coincide, but there are also many overlapping interests. We need to look for common ground, to interact more closely, including in international forums.

We spoke, of course, of regional crises, including in Syria. As for Syria, the solution to the problem of establishing peace and harmony in this country could be a model of successful joint work.

Russia and the United States, of course, can take the lead in this matter and organize cooperation to overcome the humanitarian crisis, and help return refugees to their homes.

For effective cooperation on the Syrian story, we have all the necessary terms. I recall that the Russian and American military gained useful experience in interaction and coordination, established operational communication channels, which prevented dangerous incidents and unpredictable collisions on the battlefield, in the air and on the ground.

I would also like to note that after the final defeat of terrorists in southwestern Syria, in the so-called southern zone, the situation in the Golan Heights should be brought into full compliance with the 1974 agreement on the separation of Israeli and Syrian troops.

This will restore calm to the Golan, restore the ceasefire between the Syrian Arab Republic and Israel, and reliably ensure the security of the State of Israel. Mr. President paid special attention to this today.

I want to confirm that Russia is interested in such a development of events and will adhere to just such a position. Thus, a step will be taken towards a just and lasting peace on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolution No. 338.

It is good that the problem of the Korean Peninsula began to be gradually resolved. In many ways, this became possible due to the fact that President Trump personally joined in the settlement, building a dialogue in the spirit of cooperation, not confrontation.

During the talks, they spoke directly about our concern about the United States withdrawing from a comprehensive plan of action to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue. The American side knows our position, it remains unchanged. I emphasize that, thanks to the nuclear deal, Iran has become the most verified country in the world under the control of the IAEA. This effectively ensures the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program and helps strengthen the non-proliferation regime.

When discussing the intra-Ukrainian crisis, they drew attention to the importance of the bona fide implementation of the Minsk agreements. The United States could more decisively insist on this and set the Ukrainian leadership on this work.

Particular attention was paid to the economy. Of course, there is interest in cooperation from business circles of both countries. The American business delegation was one of the largest at the May St. Petersburg Economic Forum. It was attended by more than 500 representatives of business circles of the United States.

To help promote mutual trade and investment, President Trump and I agreed to create a high-level group that would bring together the captains of Russian and American businesses. Entrepreneurs know best how to build mutually beneficial cooperation. Let them think about what can be done and make their proposals on this subject.

President Trump once again touched on the topic of so-called Russian interference in electoral processes in the United States. I had to repeat what I have said several times, including in a personal meeting with the President: the Russian state has never intervened and is not going to interfere in American internal affairs, including the electoral processes. We are ready to consider any specific materials, if they are presented, for example, within the framework of the working group on cybersecurity, the creation of which we spoke with the President at a meeting in Hamburg.

And of course, it is time to unfreeze Russian-American ties through public organizations in the cultural and humanitarian sphere. Most recently, you know, we had a delegation of American congressmen, but this is almost perceived as a historical event, and this should be an ordinary ongoing event.

In this regard, we proposed to the President of the United States to think not only on practical issues, but also on the philosophy of building bilateral relations in the long term. It would be useful to draw on the experience of experts who know the history well and the nuances of Russian-American interaction.

The idea is to form an expert council of influential Russian and American political scientists, scientists, former prominent diplomats and the military, which would be engaged in the search for common ground and understanding of how to bring bilateral cooperation on a stable positive path.

In general, we are pleased with our first full-scale meeting. Let me remind you that before that we only briefly communicated in international forums. We spoke well with President Trump – I hope that we began to understand each other better, and I am grateful to Donald for this.

Of course, numerous problems remain, and we could not clear all the rubble, it was impossible to do at the first meeting, but, I believe, we took the first important step in this direction.

In conclusion, I would like to note that the creation of a working atmosphere of the negotiations was largely facilitated by our Finnish hosts. We are grateful to the leadership of Finland, the Finnish people, and the inhabitants of Helsinki for what has been done. We know that we have caused a lot of inconvenience to the residents of Helsinki and we apologize for this.

Thank you for your attention.

D. Trump: I just finished a meeting with President Putin. We discussed various critical issues important to both countries. We had an open, productive dialogue, this dialogue went very well.

Before I begin, I want to thank the President of Finland, Niinistö, for hosting us and allowing us to host the summit. President Putin said how well they did the job, how pleasant it is for us to stay here.

I also want to welcome Russia and President Putin for having done a good job of holding the World Cup. It was one of the best, and your team also played well, you did a good job.

Today we continue the tradition of American diplomacy. Since the first days of our country, we have understood that diplomacy is an advantage. Dialogue is very important not only for the USA, but also for Russia, as well as for the whole world.

The disagreements between our countries are known, President Putin and I today discussed them in detail. But if we want to solve the problems facing our world, then we must find a way to cooperate and find common ground.

For a long time and recently, we saw the consequences of when diplomacy remains out of focus. We also saw the benefits of cooperation during the last century, when countries fought shoulder to shoulder during World War II. Even when there was a cold war, the world looked completely different, not the same as it is today.

The US and Russia were able to maintain a very strong dialogue, but our relations have never been worse than those that we see now. However, this changed about four hours ago. I really believe that. Nothing can be politically easier than just refusing to meet, refusing to negotiate, but this will not produce any results.

As President, I cannot make decisions about foreign policy in order to reconcile critics, democrats, the media who do not want to do anything but obstruction. A constructive dialogue between the United States and Russia provides an opportunity to open a new path to peace and stability in the world.

Most likely, I will take political risk on myself in order to achieve peace, instead of risking peace and betraying politics. As President, I primarily think about what is best for America, what is better for the American people.

During today’s meeting, I spoke with President Putin about Russia’s interference in our elections. I think it was better to tell him directly in the face. We spent a lot of time discussing this issue, and President Putin probably wanted to discuss this issue. And he very clearly understands this question.

We also have a critical question – the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Last month, I discussed the issue of denuclearization of North Korea with Kim Jong-un. And today I am sure that President Putin and Russia also want to end this problem and are ready to work with us on this issue. I thank them for that.

The President and I discussed the issues of radical Islamism, from which both Russia and the United States suffer. Terrible attacks. We agreed to continue communication between our security departments in order to overcome this evil. We talked about the planned terrorists attack in St. Petersburg, and we our special services were able to stop it. We found them, discovered and stopped a potential attack. I also thanked President Putin for calling me after that.

I emphasized the importance of exerting pressure on Iran to suspend their campaign of violence and nuclear desire in the region and the Middle East.

We discussed the crisis in Syria. That’s a very difficult question. Cooperation between our countries can potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives. I also said that the United States will not allow Iran to take advantage of our successful campaign against ISIS. We have virtually completely eradicated ISIS in the region.

We also agreed that the representatives of our National Security Council will discuss the issues that we discussed today and continue the progress that we started here in Helsinki.

Today’s meeting is only the beginning of a long process, but we took the first step towards a better future, in which there will be a strong dialogue and a lot of thought. Our expectations are based on a real goal, we wish friendship, cooperation and peace. I think that I can say this not only on behalf of America, but also on behalf of Russia.

President Putin, I want to thank you once again for joining me in this discussion, and for extending and continuing the open dialogue between our countries. There is a long tradition of diplomacy between Russia and the United States for the common good, and this is a very constructive day.

Today there were several very constructive hours spent together, and this is important for both our countries, it is important to continue this conversation. We agreed that, most likely, we will meet often in the future, and we hope that we will solve all the problems that we discussed today.

Once again, President Putin, thank you.

Question: I have a question for Mr. President of the United States.

During your recent European tour, you said that the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project and other projects makes Europe a hostage to Russia. You proposed to rid Europe of this dependence by supplying American liquefied natural gas.

This cold winter showed the vitality of Europe’s current energy supply system, while the United States was forced to buy additional volumes of liquefied natural gas, including Russian, for Boston.

I have a question. Is the realization of your idea more political? Could it lead to the formation of a hole in the European energy supply system, into which consumer countries will fall, first of all?

And the second question, if you allow me. Before meeting with Mr Putin, you called him a rival, but you left the hope that you might be able to make these relations friendly. Did you succeed?

D. Trump: I called him an opponent, a good opponent. He is a good rival indeed. “Opponent” is actually a compliment. I believe that we will compete when we talk about the pipeline. I’m not sure if this is better for Germany’s interests or not, but this is their decision and we will compete.

You know, the United States will or will be in the near future, but already now it is the largest state in the world of oil and gas. We sell liquefied gas, we must compete with the pipeline, and we will compete successfully, although they have some advantage. I discussed this issue with Angela Merkel in rather tough colors.

But I also know what the point is. They have a close source, and we will talk about it. We have many sources. The United States is a completely different country now compared to what it was a few years ago. We will be able to extract what we extract. I believe that we will be very strong competitors.

Vladimir Putin: Let me add two words.

We spoke with Mr. President, including on this topic. We know the position of the President. But I believe that we, as the largest oil and gas power, and the United States is also such a country, could constructively work to regulate international markets, because we are not interested in the extreme drop in prices below the lower limit. Our manufacturers will suffer from this, by the way, including in the United States, referring to shale oil and gas.

Beyond a certain framework, the profitability of production disappears. We are also not interested in excessively high prices, because it will kill processing, engineering and other sectors of the economy. We have something to talk about here, there is a field for cooperation. This is the first.

The second, regarding the “Nord Stream – 2”. Mr. President expressed concern over the possible disappearance of transit through Ukraine. I assured Mr. President that Russia is ready to maintain this transit.

Moreover, we are ready to extend the transit contract, which expires next year, in the event of a settlement of a dispute between business entities in the Stockholm Arbitration Court.

Question: Mr. President, you tweeted today that the stupidity, stupidity of the United States and Mueller are responsible for the decline in relations between the United States and Russia. Do you think that Russia is responsible for everything or for something? What are they responsible for?

D. Trump: Yes, I believe that both sides are responsible for the situation. I think that the USA is behaving stupidly, we should have started this dialogue a long time ago, even before I came to power. I believe that we are all guilty, and the United States is now actually establishing these relations with Russia.

We have a chance of cooperation, this is stopping the spread of nuclear weapons – this is ultimately the most important issue that we can work on. I believe that you and we made mistakes, and the investigation is terrible for our country. I believe that this does not allow us to unite, that is, there was no conspiracy, it separates us, and everyone knows about it.

People will show that, in fact, this is in no way connected with the election campaign. It is very difficult to find someone who is associated with the campaign. We have a clean campaign, I won, won against Hilary Clinton and, frankly, I don’t even want to talk about it. We just won this race.

It’s just unpleasant that there is some kind of cloud over it. People understand. But we have discussed this issue. It is important that there is no collusion, and this, in turn, negatively affected the relations between the two largest nuclear powers: we have 90 percent of nuclear weapons in the two countries combined. It’s just amazing what’s happening with the investigation.

Question: President Putin, may I continue the question? Why should Americans and Trump believe you that Russia did not interfere in the elections in 2016? I come from intelligence.

Will you allow the extradition of 12 Russian citizens?

D. Trump: You know, probably, that this concept was actually put forward as the reason why the Democrats lost. In fact, they should have won, because the electoral college, of course, gives the democrats more advantages than the republicans, but they won to a large extent – 306 against 232. And this fight was fair, we coped well with it.

Honestly, I will ask the President to answer the second part of your question. I just want to repeat it again, I repeated it before: there was no conspiracy, I did not know the President, and there was no one to conclude a conspiracy with. There was no conspiracy. All these 12 or 14 – it has nothing to do with the election.

They admitted that these people are not connected with the election campaign, but the reader can believe it. Even the people who are involved in this, maybe some have said something. In one case, the FBI said that no one was lying, there was no lie, although someone said that someone had lied there. But we had a great election campaign.

Vladimir Putin: Regarding who to believe and who not to believe and whether it is possible to believe at all: no one should be trusted. What makes you think that President Trump trusts me, and I fully trust him? He defends the interests of the United States of America. I protect the interests of the Russian Federation.

We have matching interests, and we are looking for common ground. We have questions that we still disagree with. We are looking for options on how to reconcile these differences, how to make our work constructive. We should not rely on the immediate political interests of some internal political forces in our countries, but on the facts.

Tell me at least one fact that speaks of some sort of collusion during the election campaign in the United States. This is complete nonsense. We were not acquainted, the President just said that. The fact that in Russian society during the election campaign in the United States there was a certain opinion regarding candidates is a matter of course. What is so unusual here?

Today’s President Trump spoke as a candidate about the need to restore Russian-American relations. Naturally, sympathy for this candidate arose in Russian society, and different people could show this sympathy in different ways. Is it not natural to have sympathy for a person who wants to build relations with our country? This is normal.

We have heard allegations against Concord. As far as I know, this company hired American lawyers, and all accusations against it are scattered in an American court. You look at what is happening in American courts. That’s what you need to rely on, not rumor. This is the first.

Second, as for the 12 employees of our supposedly special services, I don’t know anything about it yet. I still need to find out what is at stake. The President also raised this question before me.

What can I say? We generally discussed, but what comes to my mind and what can I offer? There is a 1999 treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on mutual assistance in criminal matters. This contract is working, by the way, effectively working.

At the request of foreign countries, up to a hundred, 150 criminal cases are brought in Russia. A few years ago, our former Minister of Nuclear Industry was extradited by the United States to the Russian Federation and convicted by a Russian court. This is a working contract. This agreement provides for certain joint work procedures.

We can suggest that your appropriate commission, headed by the special prosecutor … as a surname – Mr. Muller? He may, within the framework of this agreement, send us an official request in order to conduct interrogations of those people whom he considers guilty of committing some offenses. Our prosecutors and investigators can conduct these interrogations and send relevant materials to the United States.

Moreover, we can take one more step towards. We can allow officials from the United States, including this commission, Mr. Muller, to attend these interrogations. But then, in this case, we will certainly raise the question of whether these actions are mutual.

We will expect from the American side that they interrogate those officials, including representatives of the United States special services, whom we suspect of committing unlawful acts on the territory of the Russian Federation, in the presence of our investigators.

What do I mean? Well-known business of Hermitage Capital Mr. Browder. According to our investigation, a group of individuals, Mr. Browder’s business partners illegally earned more than one and a half billion dollars in Russia, did not pay taxes either in Russia or in the United States, but this money was transferred to the United States: $ 400 million was sent to the election campaign of the lady Clinton. This is the official data that is present in their reports. 400 million sent. But this is their business, perhaps they did it legally, but they received the money illegally. We have reason to believe that some of the United States intelligence agents accompanied these illegal transactions.

This is only one step forward. We can talk about expanding our cooperation. Please, options are possible, they are provided for in the relevant intergovernmental agreement.

Question: Mr. President, do you want President Trump to win the election?

Vladimir Putin: Because he talked about normalizing Russian-American relations …

Question: Good evening!

The first question for Mr. Trump is in English. Mr. President, can you elaborate in more detail, if possible, specific agreements on how Russia and the United States will cooperate in Syria? Are there any agreements or was this issue discussed?

If you will, Vladimir Vladimirovich, the question is in Russian. Since the topic of football has already been touched upon several times today, I will ask a question in football. Mr. Pompeo said a little earlier that when it comes to cooperation in Syria, now the ball is on the side of Russia. Vladimir Vladimirovich, is this really so? In that case, if so, how did you use this property?

D. Trump: You know, I will answer the first part of the question. We worked with Israel for many years, many decades, no one, no country was closer to them than we are. President Putin also helps Israel, and we both spoke with Netanyahu, they would like to do something about Syria, in particular regarding security in Israel. In this regard, we would like to cooperate in order to help Israel.

Israel will work with us, and we will work together. And I think that when you look at all the progress that has been made in some areas, in particular, the eradication of ISIS, 98–99 percent of the territories have actually been liberated, in fact, Russia has helped us to some extent. You work with Israel, and working with Israel is a good thing. Creating security for Israel is what Putin and I would like to see.

And I want to add one point – helping people. I saw reports, photographs, almost everything I saw, what was happening there. If we can do something to help the people of Syria, so that they return to their homes or some kind of humanitarian aid, then this is what we talked about – humanitarian aid. We will both be interested in this, and we will do it.

Remark: I apologize, but so far there is no concrete agreement between the armed forces.

D. Trump: Our armed forces are cooperating well. Moreover, they get along well, better than our political leaders, for many years, they are doing well, they coordinate well in Syria and elsewhere.

Vladimir Putin: We said, I have already mentioned this – cooperation in the humanitarian field, in the humanitarian sphere. Only yesterday I discussed this issue with the President of France, Mr. Macron, and we agreed with him that we, with European countries, including France, will intensify this work.

For our part, we are ready to provide military transport aircraft for humanitarian supplies. We talked about this today with President Trump, and I think that there is something to work on.

What is important? A huge number of refugees are now concentrated in the states bordering Syria: in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. If we help people to return to their homes, then the migration pressure on the countries of the European Union and other countries can decrease many times. I think this is extremely important from all points of view: both humanitarian and in terms of resolving refugee problems.

But in general, I really agree with the President. Our military work with each other is very successful. I hope that they will be able to agree as it has until now. We will work in Astana format, I mean Russia, Turkey and Iran. I also informed Donald about this today.

But we are ready to combine these efforts with the efforts of the so-called small group of states so that the process acquires a broad character and so that we have maximum chances of final success.

As for the fact that the ball is on our side in Syria. Mr. President has just said that we have finished and successfully held the World Cup. About the ball …

I want to pass this ball to Mr. President, now the ball is on his side (passes the soccer ball), especially since the United States will have to hold the World Cup in 2026.

Photo: Mauri Ratilainen / EPA-EFE

D. Trump: You are absolutely right. Yes, we will carry out. We hope that we can do this job well too.

And it will be for my son Barron. Melania, take the ball for him.

Question: Question for each President.

President Trump, you are the first. Now President Putin has said that they did not interfere in any way with the 2016 elections. All intelligence says Russia intervened. First question: who do you believe?

Second question. Now that the whole world is watching, you will say to President Putin: give up what happened in 2016 and never do it in the future?

D. Trump: I wonder why the FBI server never looked. Why did the FBI say that they should have considered what happened in the office of the National Committee. I wrote about this on Twitter and spoke on social networks: where is the server? I want to know where this server is and what the server has.

Based on this, all I can do is just ask a question. Dencas and others came to me, turned to me, said that they thought it was Russia. President Putin has just said that this is not Russia.

I must say the following. I see no reason, but I want to see the server. I believe both sides. I believe that this will continue for a certain period of time. I think that this cannot happen without understanding what happened to the servers of the Pakistani citizen who worked on our Democratic National Committee, what happened to the Hillary Clinton e-mail: 33 thousand e-mails simply disappeared, disappeared. It’s a shame!

We cannot reach and receive these 33 thousand e-mails. I trust my intelligence, but I want to say that President Putin has denied very much today. He made a great offer. He said that people who work for the department should work with their investigators about these 12 suspects.

Vladimir Putin: Let me add two words.

I also worked in intelligence, and I know how the corresponding files are compiled. This is the first.

The second one. I consider Russia a democratic state. I hope you do not refuse this and your country, the United States of America. Is the United States a Democratic State? And if so, then the final conclusion in a dispute of this kind can only be made by the court, not the operational services.

The company I mentioned, Concord and one of our restaurateurs, he is involved in the restaurant business, is accused of interference. But they do not represent the Russian state. Even so, I can imagine. So what? I have already given examples.

You have a lot of people, including those with a big, billion-strong fortune – Mr. Soros, for example, who intervenes everywhere, but what is this? Is this the position of the American state? Not. This is the position of an individual. So it is here. There is a trial in an American court, the final authority is always only a court. Let them understand, we’ll see.

This applies only to private individuals, not the state. And the last accusations against the alleged employees of our special services – please, I answered that. There is an intergovernmental agreement, please send an official request, let the Mueller commission send us a request, we will carry out the relevant work and respond.

It is possible to expand this cooperation, I have already said, but then only on a reciprocal basis. Then we will also expect from the American side access to those persons whom we consider to be special services. Let us substantively discuss and not use Russian-American relations as a bargaining chip in American domestic political struggle.

Question: I have questions for President Putin, two questions for you.

Can you say what President Trump told you or hinted to you regarding the official recognition of Crimea as a territory of Russia?

Second. Does the Russian Government have any incriminating material against President Trump and his family?

Vladimir Putin: President Trump has a well-known position on the Crimea, and he adheres to it. He talks about the illegality of the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation. We have a different point of view. We believe that we held a referendum in strict accordance with international law, with the Charter of the United Nations. For us, for the Russian Federation, this question is closed. The first one.

The second, with regard to some incriminating evidence. I heard about this, allegedly we were collecting dirt on Mr. Trump when he came to Moscow. Dear colleague, when Mr. Trump came to Moscow, I did not even know that he was there. I respect President Trump as the head of the American state, but when he came as a businessman, I did not even know that he was in Moscow.

More than 500 American businessmen came to the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, to St. Petersburg, and I’m not even reminded of their names by the highest rank. And what do you think, we will organize operational work for each of them and collect some kind of incriminating evidence? It’s hard to imagine more bullshit, just hard to imagine. Please throw this husk out of your head.

D. Trump: I must say that if they had this material, they would have provided. If someone saw Peter Strack when he testified over the past few days when I was in Brussels, it’s just a shame for the FBI. This is actually a shame for our country. And we must say that it was actually a “witch hunt”.

Thanks to everyone.

The Helsinki Summit did not involve the signing of any documents or the conclusion of any agreements. However, statements made by the leaders of Russia and the United States allow us to talk about their intention to continue negotiations in order to find common points of contact and cooperation, rather than exacerbating the geopolitical confrontation.

As regards relations between countries with the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons and indirectly participating in military conflicts in a number of “hot spots” in the world, confidence that their leaders will continue to conduct dialogue is not the only, but the minimum necessary condition for stability in the world.

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