During the G-20 Summit, US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had an hour-long meeting, that was previously undisclosed.
The conversation, as confirmed later by the White House, took place during a dinner for the G-20 leaders.
The relations between US and Russia have always been fractious. The Cold War, which lasted from 1947 to 1991, found much of the world divided into the Western Bloc (United States and its allies) and the Eastern Bloc (Soviet Union and its allies). An overview of the ties between the nations can be found here.
US President Donald Trump has advocated for better relations with Russia and has voiced his admiration for Putin. His words have been scrutinized by US intelligence agencies who believe that Russia interfered with the US Presidential elections in 2016. During the G-20, held in the first week of July, Trump and Putin were scheduled to meet for twenty minutes. The meeting lasted close to two hours. In the meeting the two countries agreed to a ceasefire in the Syrian conflict.
There is currently an investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to alter the course of the Presidential election. Trump is currently under investigation for obstruction of justice due to his dismissal of FBI chief, James Comey.
A pool of reporters had been briefly allowed to attend the formal bilateral meeting between Putin and Trump at G-20.
Ian Bremmer, the president of Eurasia Group, who had spoken to the leaders that attended the dinner, wrote note detailing the meeting. He said that Trump had gone and spoken to Putin and described this conversation as “animated and very friendly.”
The White House and Trump dismissed the latest details as “fake news.” The White House said that this meeting was not secretive in nature and had taken place in full view of the other leaders and their spouses. Experts have expressed apprehension at the fact this meeting had not been officially disclosed.
The news comes just a week after details emerged that Donald Trump’s son had held a meeting with a Russian lawyer seeking harmful information on Hillary Clinton. Michael Hayden, former CIA Director has called it “soft collusion” with Russia.
Our assessment is that President Trump clearly favors a strong relationship with Putin. He believes that a partnership with Russia would help him solve some of the global security issues that he faces. Having Russia on the side could be a good counter to China. The two-hand handshake from Trump conveys that he is willing to reach out and is happy to take support.