President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday to plan the upcoming U.S.-Russia summit.
“While in Moscow today, Ambassador Bolton is meeting with President Vladimir Putin and other senior Russian officials to discuss United States-Russia relations, as well as the potential for a Presidential meeting,” tweeted White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.
Later in the day on Wednesday, Bolton said that a meeting time and place had been set for the Trump and Putin summit.
“There will be an announcement on that tomorrow simultaneous in Washington and Moscow” said Bolton.
The leaders will meet in a third country, which multiple officials have said will likely be Finland.
“I can say that we have reached an agreement to hold a summit, we have even agreed on the time and the place of the meeting, and we will announce this obviously with our American colleagues tomorrow,” said Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov.
This week, Bolton was greeted by Putin as he arrived in Moscow.
Bolton said that he looked forward to discussing “how to improve Russia-U.S. relations and find areas where we can agree and make progress together” with Putin.
“Your visit here to Moscow inspires hope that we will be able to take first steps to restore full-fledged relations between Russia and the United States,” said Putin. “Russia never sought confrontation, and I hope that today we will be able to talk about what we can do from both sides in order to restore full-fledged relations on the foundation of equality and of respect for each other’s interests.”
But there are a lot of topics on the table to discuss.
Prior to the meeting, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed out that Russia “doesn’t share our value set.”
“Whether it’s the battlefield in Syria, the situation in Ukraine, the Russians’ active measures,” said Pompeo on CNN. “I am sure there are many topics that President Trump and President Putin will discuss and each of them is important to trying to put the relationship back in place with a common set of understandings.”
Earlier in the month, Trump implied that Obama was to blame for the diminished relationship with Russia.
“President Obama lost Crimea … Obama lost Crimea because President Putin didn’t respect President Obama, didn’t respect our country, and didn’t respect Ukraine,” said Trump.
The liberal media has been quick to blame the Russian meddling in the most recent presidential election as the primary root of the recent tension between the U.S. and Russia.
Trump has made it clear he doesn’t approve of Russia meddling in the election, but is ready to move on.
“To say there is a single issue that has caused there to not to be a warm relationship between the two countries is a misnomer,” said Pompeo.
Topics on the summit’s agenda will likely include the Syria conflict, Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine, and denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.
“The president’s been unambiguous since he took office that there are places where Russia is working against the United States but many places where we work together,” said Pompeo.
In July, Trump will also be attending the NATO conference where the discussion will be more focused on how to apply the pressure on Russia.
Author’s note: Being president is the ultimate balancing act. Trump is trying to improve the relationship with Russia, but not all of our NATO allies are on board with this. Like Bolton said, it’s time to focus on common interests.