DONALD TRUMP and Vladimir Putin have shared a brief encounter ahead of their highly anticipated meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany.
The two leaders had a brief encounter upon arrival at the summit of industrialised and developing nations in Hamburg, shaking hands and exchanging a few words.
Their sit-down meeting, which may tackle a number of foreign policy issues from the conflict in Syria to Russia’s provocations in Ukraine, will be overshadowed by investigations into whether Mr Trump’s campaign co-ordinated with Moscow during last year’s presidential election.
Mr Trump, during a speech in Warsaw on Thursday, urged Russia to “cease its destabilising activities in Ukraine and elsewhere and its support for hostile regimes — including Syria and Iran — and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defence of civilisation itself”.
But much of the focus — in Washington and Moscow — will be on whether Mr Trump broaches the issue of Russia’s meddling in the election.
— Dan Scavino Jr. (@Scavino45) July 7, 2017
Before the meeting on Friday, the US president tweeted that he was looking forward to the visit, saying there was “much to discuss”.
During a news conference in Poland on Thursday, he again refused to accept the conclusion by multiple US intelligence agencies that Russia interfered to try to help him win last November.
He said it could have been Russia, but that other countries could have meddled too.
“Nobody really knows for sure,” Mr Trump said.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 7, 2017
He is under intense scrutiny over how he handles the sit-down with the Russian president, a former intelligence agent known to come to meetings well-prepared.
The White House has scheduled 35 minutes for the meeting, raising questions about how much ground the leaders can cover.