Radio Free Europe
Follow all of the latest developments as they happen.
U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, are hours away from their first solo meeting and the first bilateral summit between leaders of the two countries since April 2010.
According to Ukraine, vegetation in Crimea is drying up at record levels.
A court in Russian-controlled Crimea has sentenced Ukrainian national Yevhen Panov to eight years in prison on sabotage charges that Kyiv contends are groundless.
The mother of Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who is serving a 20-year prison term in Russia, has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to pardon her son.
NATO's deployment of additional resources to the Baltic region despite Russia's opposition was a "necessary step" based on Moscow's "aggressive actions," the Western military alliance's supreme commander says.
Ukrainian lawmakers have approved an amendment to a law establishing an anticorruption court in an effort to secure more funding under a $17.5 billion aid-for-reforms program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
U.S. President Donald Trump said Russian President Vladimir Putin was a "competitor" and neither a friend nor an enemy, in closing remarks at the NATO summit on July 12. Speaking ahead of his first bilateral summit with Putin, he said he could not say what would happen with Crimea -- when asked whether he would accept Russia's annexation of it.
John Warren, a British host of a Russian culinary travel show, is paying the price for shooting on location in Russia-controlled Crimea, with Ukraine handing him a three-year entry ban.
The European Union has retroactively canceled some sanctions against Andriy Klyuyev, the former head of the ex-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s administration, but did not lift sanctions against him that were prolonged in March.
News in Ukraine
US president says his strained meeting with Nato was ‘great’ as he arrives in Helsinki for a high-stakes summit with Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin’s plane has touched down in the Helsinki almost an hour late.
Putin is running a bit late, but he's arrived here in Helsinki. pic.twitter.com/JROj8ou7HT
Wondering how Donald Trump stacks up on being made to wait by Putin?Putin is current about 55 minutes late landing in Helsinki, taking him past Pope Francis (50 mins) and approaching Modi (1 hour). Things get bad at Lukashenka (3 hours) and Merkel (4 hours 15 min). pic.twitter.com/zyfvYazsjk
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman says he hopes the summit will be a “baby step” toward fixing exceptionally bad US-Russian relations, AP reports.
The United States is not the only side complaining about cyberattacks ahead of Monday’s summit.
Putin’s trip to Helsinki marks the first foreign trip for the Russian president’s new Cortege limousine, which was unveiled with great fanfare at his inauguration in May.
The Kremlin pool reporter for Komsomolskaya Pravda, Dmitry Smirnov, snapped a picture of the limousine at Helsinki’s airport where Putin is expected to land more than 45 minutes late.
Первый зарубежный выезд «Кортежа»: Лимузин ждет Путина в аэропорту Хельсинки pic.twitter.com/akgrQmaIJJ
Putin’s lateness is being interpreted as diplomatic gamesmanship. Speaking to CNN while we still wait for Putin’s plane to land in Helsinki, Thomas Pickering, former US ambassador to the UN, said:
Obviously the lateness is something he could have avoided, so it has some intent. That intent obviously is in some ways to level the playing field of publicity about this meeting so that it isn’t all Trump, whatever he’s saying.
Newspaper billboards in Helsinki attack the record of both Putin and Trump on free speech.
Helsingin Sanomat, one of the country’s top news outlets, unveiled nearly 300 billboards calling out the leaders’ respective records of rocky relations with the media. The billboards were placed along the leaders’ route to the summit.
Aside from the welcome billboard which reads “Mr. President, Welcome to the Land of Free Press,” most of the others feature headlines published in the newspaper over the years, according to a press release.
Putin already has the edge in pre-summit posturing by keeping Trump waiting. His plane to Helsinki is reported to be running late.
Looks like Putin will keep Trump waiting. He’s landing about 45 minutes late at 5:47 EST, just about the time he was supposed to be arriving at the Presidential Palace. #HelsinkiSummit
European Council president Donald Tusk has suggested that Trump is spreading fake news by telling CBS that the European Union is a foe of the US.
America and the EU are best friends. Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news.
Trump is confident of getting on with Putin, he told Piers Morgan for ITV’s Good Morning Britain on board air force one.
Trump accepted that Putin “probably is” a ruthless person, but couldn’t tell yet.
Russia’s foreign ministry liked Trump’s tweeted about the dire state of US-Russian relations, notes Amie Ferris-Rotman from the Washington Post.
Trump is facing immense pressure to aggressively confront Putin over Russia’s election interference, especially after the Justice Department indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials last Friday and charged them with hacking and stealing Democratic emails, as part of a broad subterfuge operation that U.S. intelligence agencies believe was ordered by Putin to help elect Trump.
But Trump’s comments Monday were in sync with the argument Putin and his government have long made, which is that the policies of the Obama administration — as well as the investigation into election interference, which Putin repeatedly has denied — inflamed tensions between the to nuclear superpowers.
The White House has issued a transcript of Trump’s remarks about last week’s Nato summit during his breakfast meeting in Helsinki with his Finnish counterpart.
It quotes him saying:
Nato has, I think, never been stronger. And it was really – it was a little bit tough at the beginning, and it turned out to be love. It really was a great meeting that we had and brought everybody together, and, I think, very worthwhile...
We had a fantastic meeting a few days ago; some of you were there. It was a very successful meeting. I think Nato has never been more together. People are now agreeing to pay, and we were having a lot of problem with a lot of people not paying, as the President will tell you. And they’re paying, and they’re paying more rapidly. And I think Nato has probably never been stronger than it is today.
Hillary Clinton has questioned Trump’s loyalty to the US in a barbed tweet ahead of the summit.
Tweeting after the World Cup final when Putin oversaw a thrilling final between France and Croatia, she said: “Great World Cup. Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?”
Great World Cup. Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?
One of Putin’s most vocal opponents, Garry Kasparov, says Trump has already given in to Russia by agreeing to the summit.
Putin would like normalization of relations & lifting of all sanctions, but knows that's too much too soon, and increasingly out of Trump's hands. He'll get more chaos & division, talk token pseudo-concessions, peace for our time BS. Lots of photos, posturing.
Meanwhile, all the US needs from Putin is to NOT give him those things, to not enable him but to deter him. We will see if Trump wants what the US needs this time. Gifting Putin this summit is already a failure.
Greenpeace activists have attached a banner about global warning on Helsinki’s Kallio Church to coincide with the summit. “Warm out hearts not our planet”, the banner pleaded.
Protesters came out on Sunday to attack both Trump and Putin before the summit.
“Not welcome,” read one sign, held by Hemmo Siponen, showing a cartoon of Trump and Putin embracing. “Fuck you both,” read another carried by two young women.
Trump has left the Mäntyniemi Residence, where he had a breakfast meeting with the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö.
TV footage showed Trump waving to reporters as he left. Next up is the one-to-one meeting with Vladimir Putin.
Ahead of the Helsinki summit, the European council president, Donald Tusk, has warned that it is the responsibility of the major powers to uphold rules-based order, not destroy it and pave the way to war.
Speaking at an EU-China summit in Beijing, Tusk said:
“Today, on the same day as Europe meets China in Beijing, American President Trump and Russian President Putin will talk in Helsinki, we are all aware of the fact that the architecture of the world is changing before our very eyes. And it is our common responsibility to make it a change for the better.
Let us remember, here in Beijing, and over there, in Helsinki, that the world we were building for decades, sometimes through disputes, has brought about peace for Europe, the development of China, and the end of the Cold War between the East and the West.”
White House reporter Annie Karni reports from the Hilton Kalastajatorppa in Helsinki:
Trump is having breakfast with the president of Finland where he described the Nato summit as “tough” at first “but it turned out to be love”.
President Donald Trump has arrived in Helsinki for his high-stakes summit with Vladimir Putin and has already fired off a series of bombastic tweets.
He said America’s relationship with Russia has never been worse thanks to “many years of US foolishness and stupidity” and the current investigation into Russian meddling in the US election, which he again dismissed as a “rigged witch hunt”.
Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!
President Obama thought that Crooked Hillary was going to win the election, so when he was informed by the FBI about Russian Meddling, he said it couldn’t happen, was no big deal, & did NOTHING about it. When I won it became a big deal and the Rigged Witch Hunt headed by Strzok!
Received many calls from leaders of NATO countries thanking me for helping to bring them together and to get them focused on financial obligations, both present & future. We had a truly great Summit that was inaccurately covered by much of the media. NATO is now strong & rich!
Within hours of arriving in Europe, Donald Trump was busy insulting America’s closest friends and threatening to dismember Nato. He publicly humiliated Theresa May and did his importunate best to force regime change in Westminster, before halfheartedly apologising. Now he takes his ugly brand of rogue-male politics to Helsinki for a meeting with his best buddy, prominent campaign supporter and fellow narcissist, Russia’s Vladimir Putin. This is an ominous, possibly watershed moment for Europe, full of fear and loathing.
Putin brings experience, preparation, ruthless discipline and actual goals: he is the poker ace facing a man who has mastered only beggar-my-neighbour. So any substantive discussions between the men may be more worrying than the omissions. (Only Mr Trump could make the prospect of “surprising” outcomes in Helsinki sound quite so ominous.) Their shared hostility to Nato, the EU and established US alliances is alarming. And we do not know why Mr Trump wants this meeting, beyond enjoying the spotlight.Continue reading...
Statement comes on eve of summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin and just before anniversary of 17 July 2014 air disaster
Russia must “account for its role” in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine and cooperate with efforts to establish truth and justice, foreign ministers of the world’s industrial democracies said on Sunday.
The statement by the G7 ministers came on the eve of a summit between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, but also just before the anniversary of the 17 July 2014 air disaster which killed all 298 crew and passengers when the airliner was shot down.Continue reading...
Politicians and energy experts say Nord Stream 2 will make Europe reliant on Russian gas
Donald Trump may have used typically emotive – if premeditated – language from the outset at the Nato summit in Brussels to lambast Germany for its willingness to build a gas pipeline, but the US president’s view that this will make Europe particularly dependent on Russian gas is widely shared by European politicians, thinktanks and energy specialists, including some in Berlin.
No country is more angry about the pipeline than Ukraine, an ally Trump is supposedly poised to abandon when he meets the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in Helsinki on Monday.Continue reading...