HELSINKI – The presidents of the United States and Russia – Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, respectively – will hold on Monday their first official summit in Helsinki, in which the leaders are expected to address issues including conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, the nuclear disarmament and the alleged interference of Moscow in the 2016 United States elections.
The summit is scheduled to start at 1:20 pm local time (1020 GMT) at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki with a private meeting between Trump and Putin, accompanied by interpreters. The meeting will last about one-and-a-half hours.
Trump and Putin will then hold a working lunch together with their ministers and advisers, followed by a joint press conference.
Trump previously said he has “low expectations” for the summit, while the Kremlin stressed the most important thing is to establish channels of dialogue in order to improve bilateral ties.
The two leaders are also expected to discuss Syria, where the US aims to restrain the Iranian military presence and hopes that Russia can exert more influence over Tehran in that regard.
The agenda will likely include the possible extension of the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty, which is set to expire in 2021.
Moscow has repeatedly criticized the deployment of US missile systems in eastern Europe, while the US has condemned Russia’s alleged violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, under which the signatories are obliged to eliminate all short- and medium-range nuclear and conventional missiles.
Ukraine is another item on the agenda, although the conflict in the east of the country between the Kiev army and the pro-Russian rebels backed by Moscow has been entrenched for months and the last agreed ceasefires have been ineffective.
Trump is also expected to ask Putin about the alleged interference of Moscow in the 2016 presidential elections.