- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Washington and Moscow agreed Wednesday to a summit next month between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, a powwow that is guaranteed to provoke criticism from Mr. Trump’s critics at home and in foreign capitals.

The deal was struck during National Security Adviser John Bolton’s visit with Mr. Putin in the Russian capital.

The details will be made public Thursday, according to Kremlin officials, but the meeting is expected to take place after the NATO summit in mid-July in Brussels.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin likely will meet in the Finnish capital, Helsinki.

The summit deal was announced by Putin aide Yuri Ushakov.

“The two countries have discussed the issue for a long time, it has been discussed through closed channels. I can say that an agreement has been reached on holding the summit, even an agreement on the date and venue. We will presumably announce that tomorrow together with our US counterparts,” Mr. Ushakov told reporters in Moscow, according to a Russia’s state-owned Tass News Agency.

The summit will provide fresh ammunition to Mr. Trump’s political foes who accuse him of admiring the authoritarian leader in the Kremlin and colluding with Russia to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

The meeting also will highlight special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Trump campaign collusion with Russia, which continues to cast a shadow over Mr. Trump’s presidency.

America’s allies also balk at Mr. Trump’s overtures to Mr. Putin, such as suggesting earlier this month that Russia be readmitted to the Group of Seven leaders from major industrialized countries.

Russia was kicked out of what was then the G-8 after the disputed 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Russia has since continued to meddle in eastern Ukraine.

Before the summit was confirmed, Mr. Trump said that any talks with Mr. Putin would include the tough issues of Ukraine and Syria, where the U.S. and Russia have been at odds.

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