Donald Trump tells Vladimir Putin not to meddle in US polls

Donald Trump has told Vladimir Putin not to meddle in the US elections.
Donald Trump has told Vladimir Putin not to meddle in the US elections. Photo credit: Getty Images

US President Donald Trump has told Russian President Vladimir Putin not to meddle in the US elections, appearing to make light of a scandal that led to a two-year investigation into his campaign's contact with the Kremlin during the 2016 elections.

Asked by a reporter whether he would raise the issue during a bilateral meeting with Putin, Trump said: "Yes, of course I will."

Trump then turned to Putin to give the directive twice while pointing at the Russian leader.

Putin maintained a smile as the remark was interpreted for him.

Trump and Putin were heading into a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

It was the first time the two leaders have had a formal face-to-face meeting since a controversial high-profile summit in Helsinki last July.

Relations between the two countries have been sour for years, worsening after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian war.

In a recent television interview, Putin said relations between Moscow and Washington were "getting worse and worse".

For his part, Trump has sought better relations with Putin to tackle a host of issues, including his goal to rein in North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

On Friday, he emphasised the positive.

"Its a great honour to be with President Putin," Trump told reporters. 

"We have many things to discuss, including trade and including some disarmament."

Trump and Putin had been scheduled to meet at the end of November at the last G20 in Buenos Aires, but Trump cancelled the meeting, citing Russia's seizure of Ukrainian navy ships and sailors.

The two spoke informally at the event, and at a lunch in Paris earlier that month.

"We've had great meetings. We've had a very, very good relationship," Trump said on Friday.

"And we look forward to spending some very good time together. A lot of very positive things going to come out of the relationship."

In May, the two leaders had their first extensive phone conversation in months. 

Trump said they talked about a new accord to limit nuclear arms that could eventually, include China.

Russia is under punitive sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union and wants them lifted.

Trump's critics have accused him of being too friendly with Putin and slammed him for failing to publicly confront the Russian leader in Helsinki over Moscow's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Reuters 

 

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