U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday the U.S. relationship with Russia "has never been worse" as he prepared for a high-stakes summit with Russia's Vladimir Putin.
In a tweet, Trump blamed the hostilities on "many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!" – a reference to the special counsel investigation into Russian election meddling.
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On Monday morning, Russia tweeted back at Trump writing, "We agree." The tweet came as Trump arrived at the the Mäntyniemi Residence in Helsinki, where he and first lady Melania Trump were greeted by President Sauli Niinistö and his wife.
Finland has a long legacy of hosting U.S.-Soviet and U.S.-Russian summits due to its geographic location and perceived neutrality.
Meanwhile, Russia said on Monday it was ready to discuss with the meddling allegations. "We are ready to discuss, ready to undertake mutual obligations of non-intervention into internal matters," RIA quoted a Russian source as saying.
The source also said Moscow was proposing to the United States a resumption of dialogue on strategic stability and would like to address questions related to arms control, Syria and Iran during the meeting.
Netanyahu: Leaders will discuss Iran, Syria
Last week, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew out to Moscow for talks with Putin that focused on Israel's demand that Iranian forces leave Syria. Netanyahu said he spoke to Trump on Saturday concerning "security and diplomatic issues in light of developments in the region, with Syria and Iran first and foremost, of course."
These issues, Netanyahu said, will also come up during Trump's meeting with Putin. "I thanked President Trump for his strong policy against Iran because since this policy has been taken, we have seen a great effect on – and inside – Iran.," Netanyahu said. "President Trump clearly reiterated his commitment to the security of Israel and his willingness to help the State of Israel in various fields and, of course, I thanked him for that."
The meeting between the U.S. and Russian presidents was condemned in advance by an assortment of members of Congress from both parties after the U.S. indictment last week of 12 Russians accused of hacking Democrats in the 2016 election to help Trump.
Questions are swirling about whether Trump will sharply rebuke his Russian counterpart for the election meddling that prompted a special counsel probe.
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