HELSINKI – US President Donald Trump arrived in the Finnish capital on Sunday ahead of a high-stakes summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Air Force One landed at Helsinki’s international airport just before 6:00 pm from Scotland, where Trump spent several days relaxing at one of his golf resorts following the NATO summit and meetings with UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth II.
The president and first lady traveled directly to their hotel, passing en route a group of Trump supporters waving US, Finnish, and Israeli flags.
Topics expected to come up in Monday’s discussions between the US and Russian leaders include Syria, Ukraine, arms control, and the allegations of Kremlin interference in the 2016 presidential election in the United States.
Putin has repeatedly denied any Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign.
Trump told CBS News that while he was approaching the summit with “low expectations,” it was still “a good thing to meet.”
“I do believe in meetings. Look, I believe that having a meeting with (North Korea’s) Chairman Kim was a good thing. I think having meetings with the president of China was a very good thing, I believe it’s really good. And so having meetings with Russia, China, North Korea, I believe in it,” the president said in an interview that aired Sunday.
“Nothing bad is going to come out of it (Helsinki), and maybe some good will come out,” he said.
Possibly alluding to demands that he cancel the talks with Putin following Friday’s indictment of 12 Russian military officers on charges they hacked the computers of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016, Trump complained Sunday about a negative tone in the US ahead of the summit.
“Unfortunately, no matter how well I do at the Summit, if I was given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russia ... over the years, I would return to criticism that it wasn’t good enough – that I should have gotten Saint Petersburg in addition!” he wrote in a succession of tweets.