United States senators on rare visit to Moscow ahead of Putin-Trump summit

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there was no plan for the senators to meet Putin.

Trump, who is set to leave for Europe on Tuesday, will hold meetings with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies in Brussels, visit Britain, and then meet Putin in Helsinki for a one-on-one meeting on July 16.

The summit - finalized amid a visit to Moscow by National Security Adviser John Bolton just last week - will cap a dizzying year in which President Trump repeatedly expressed a desire to "get along" with Russian Federation while approving a raft of sanctions that have sent U.S. -Russia relations to lows reminiscent of the Cold War.

But Putin shouldn't feel the need to rig the games, Marcus said, because the Russian leader's World Cup campaign is successful just by "having a positive tournament that has gone on without a hitch".

In between, and despite the mounting pressures within the United States and in Europe calling for a tougher position to confront Putin's Russia, Moscow and Washington successfully negotiated - with Jordan as a third party - the de-escalation agreement in southwest Syria, in the triangle of Daraa-Kuneitera-Al-Sweyda, near the Syrian-Israel border.

The White House disputes the idea that there is anything sinister about the relationship between Trump and Russian Federation, maintaining the line that no president has been tougher on Moscow than Trump.

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He noted that the Washington has pledged to separate the "moderate opposition" from terrorists, but has not succeeded so far as these factions which Washington considers moderate are fighting alongside al-Nusra in southern Syria.

"Everyone in our alliance has the same goal, and that is a strong deterrent; an alliance that is unified that can face any threats that any one of our 29 members might face", she said, listing "Russia and the malign activities of Russian Federation, the efforts of Russian Federation to divide our Democratic nations" and INF treaty violations as among those threats. "We will have to wait and see".

Before meeting Trump, the Russian president sent him a very precious gift. The White House points out that Trump also endorsed the sale of lethal weapons to the government of Ukraine, a step the Obama administration did not take. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

President Putin expects something, not less precious, in return.

The best outcome of the Helsinki summit, from the point of view of Putin's Russian Federation, is a new détente between the U.S. and Russian Federation.

The writer is former assistant foreign minister.

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