The Kremlin sought to limit damage from another apparent snub after plans fell through for a meeting in Paris between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US leader Donald Trump.
Russian officials have pinned their hopes on personal contacts between the two leaders to help achieve a long-sought warming in relations with the US that plunged to their worst since the Cold War under Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama. Instead, ties have deteriorated further as the Kremlin has faced repeated rounds of new sanctions amid US allegations of Russian election
Putin and Trump can’t hold talks on the sidelines of Sunday’s centenary commemorations of the end of World War I as intended because the
“schedule of the multilateral event doesn’t allow it,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Instead, they will “cross paths” in a brief encounter and decide when to hold a full-scale
meeting, Peskov said in a voice message.
Trump said that a meeting will “probably not” take place in Paris, though he expected to see Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires at the end of the month “and probably we’ll have a meeting after that.” He didn’t give a reason for the change of plans other than to say he’s “going to be in Paris for other reasons.”
Putin and Trump held their first bilateral summit in Helsinki in July and met for more than two hours on the sidelines of the G-20 talks in Hamburg last year. They also spoke briefly at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam in November last year. Both Russian and US officials had said the two leaders intended to hold talks in France, though the Kremlin said that the meeting would only be “brief.”
“This is the second time we’ve been put into an awkward situation,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, head of Russia’s Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, which advises the Kremlin.
US midterm elections key event for Russia
Elections are usually a non-event for investors in Russia, but this week votes thousands of miles away have grabbed their attention.
The US midterms are creating the kind of uncertainty over Russia’s future that’s usually absent from the country’s own predictable ballots.
At stake are proposals for fresh sanctions currently under discussion in Congress, which many believe could end up being harsher
if the Democrats win a
“A Republican win is better for Russia,” said Tatiana Orlova, an economist at Emerginomics in London. “The Republicans are currently focused on a stand-off with China,” while the Democrats “seem to believe that Russia is the main threat to American security.”