Putin hails summit with Trump, slams critics

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Moscow, July 19 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday called his summit with US President Donald Trump a success but warned that “certain forces in the US now want to prevent what was achieved there.”

In his first public comments on the summit, the Russian leader told the country’s diplomats that certain forces in the US wanted to sacrifice Washington-Moscow ties for their “narrow party interests” and were “feeding millions of their people stories”, the BBC reported.

“On the whole the meeting was successful,” Putin said, adding that “positive agreements” had resulted from the Monday meeting in Helsinki, Finland.

“It would be naive to think the problems would be solved in a few hours. But no one expected that,” he said.

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The meeting, Putin said, had allowed the US and Russia to start down the “path of positive change” and away from a confrontation he said was in some ways “worse than the Cold War”.

The Russian leader then warned that progress was jeopardized by the uproar in Washington over the meeting, lambasting Trump’s opponents and critics of the summit and accusing them of undermining the summit for their own political ends.

“We will see how events develop further, moreover, as certain forces are trying to disavow the results of the meeting in Helsinki,” Putin said.

His comments were a thinly veiled criticism of the row in the US that followed the Helsinki summit. Trump came under attack from both Republicans and Democrats, as well as in the news media, for what critics said was his failure to publicly confront the Russian leader over Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 US election.

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On Thursday, Trump accused opponents of preferring to go to war rather than seeing good relations with Russia. After facing flak over not taking Putin to task on poll meddling, Trump insisted that he had “misspoken” during the summit press conference.

It came as US intelligence chief Dan Coats said Russia was involved in “ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy”.

During an interview with CBS News on Wednesday, Trump said that he would consider Putin personally responsible for any Russian interference. “Just like I consider myself to be responsible for things that happen in this country,” he said. “So certainly as the leader of a country you would have to hold him responsible, yes.”

He added that he was “very strong on the fact that we can’t have meddling” in his conversation behind closed doors in Helsinki with Putin.

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US lawmakers were calling for a court demand to be issued for the notes of the US translator who accompanied Trump to his two-hour meeting with Putin. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to testify before the Senate next week about the summit.



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