Trump: ‘Getting along with Russia is a good thing’

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President Trump on Monday began his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin by saying the “world” wants better ties between the two nations.

Speaking briefly to reporters before the start of their meeting in Helsinki, Trump told Putin they have “great opportunities” to repair the relationship between the U.S. and Russia, countries he said “have not been getting along very well for the last number of years.”

“I think we will end up having an extraordinary relationship,” Trump said, sitting beside Putin inside the Finnish presidential palace. “Getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing.”

{mosads}Trump added, “I think the world wants to see us get along.”

The president sought to defend his decision to meet with Putin, which comes just days after the U.S. indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking Democratic officials during the 2016 election.

The indictment increased pressure on Trump to raise Moscow’s so-called malign activities with Putin. But Trump made no mention of those issues, which also include Russia’s military involvement in Syria and Ukraine, during his opening remarks.

The highly anticipated meeting got underway nearly 50 minutes late in large part because of Putin’s delayed arrival in Helsinki.

Trump and Putin sat beside each other inside an ornate room lined with U.S. and Russian flags. The two men posed for photos without smiling before sitting down to make remarks. They shook hands only after they each spoke.

Putin, a former KGB operative who is highly attentive to body language, sat with his trademark slouch as Trump spoke. In his brief comments, Putin said he wanted to make progress on some of the irritants in the U.S.-Russia relationship.

“It is now time to talk in depth about our bilateral ties and sore points in the world,” he said through a translator. “There are enough of those that we need to pay attention to.”

Tags Donald Trump Trump-Putin summit

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