The White House is planning a summit between United States President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. According to the Wall Street Journal, though the planned summit is in its early stages, US ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman is helping to prepare for the meeting between Trump and Putin. “This has been an ongoing project of Ambassador Huntsman, stretching back months, of getting a formal meeting between Putin and Trump,” said a senior administration official. If the summit does go ahead, it would be the third time that both the leaders would meet face-to-face.
Putin and Trump first met during the G20 summit in Germany’s Hamburg in July last year and again met for the second time in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam in November last year. Earlier in March this year, the two leaders held a telephonic conversation, where Trump had invited Putin to visit Washington D.C. It is to be noted that relations between US and Russia are greatly strained due to the crisis in Ukraine, Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2015, differences regarding Russian military intervention in the Syrian civil war, and the alleged meddling of 2016 US presidential election.
Washington D.C. has repeatedly condemned Moscow’s actions in Ukraine and imposed sanctions over the same since 2014. The US has also strongly condemned Russia’s support to embattled Syrian President Bashar-al Assad. Relations between the former Cold War powers plunged to a new low in March this year, when the US and other countries expelled Russian diplomats from their respective nations in response to the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a military-grade nerve agent called Novichok at their home in Salisbury, England. Moscow denied any wrongdoing over the same and has slammed Washington D.C. for “orchestrating a blackmail campaign” against the poisoning attack.