US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, June 27, told reporters in Washington that he will bring up the issue of Syrian war and Ukraine crisis with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during the summit over which the two sides have agreed upon.
Trump's remarks came after his National Security Adviser John Bolton said in a news conference in Moscow, where he has gone to meet Putin, that the US and Russian authorities will make announcements simultaneously on Thursday, June 28, to specify the venue and timing of the summit.
The two presidents are likely to meet in a third country capital in Europe after the Nato summit on July 11-12 and Helsinki and Vienna are doing the rounds as probable places for the talks.
Bolton, who is known to be a hawk, also said after meeting Putin that Trump will raise a "full range of issues" with Putin, including the Kremlin's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump's domestic critics have been vocal throughout over him not targeting Russia much over issues like its alleged meddling in US election and annexing Crimea and on the contrary, wishing the Russian president on various occasions over the latter's moments of success, ignoring advice of his own aides.
The Trump administration has although taken a strong stand on Russia, like after Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad allegedly used chemical weapons against his own people in April or Moscow's alleged role in poisoning its former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, by approving missile attacks on Syria's chemical facilities or by expelling Russian diplomats and shutting down a consulate in Seattle, those steps were seen more as exceptions than rule.
Trump himself is under pressure at home because of a continuing probe into his campaign's alleged collusion with the Russians during the 2016 presidential election, something the president has derided as a "witch hunt" time and again.
Before Bolton's meeting with Putin, the Russian president said he regretted that ties between the former Cold War foes are "not in the best shape" and suggested their dire state is due in large part to what he called "the internal political struggle" in the United States -- indicating he does not blame Trump for the disagreements.
Trump's upcoming summit with Putin is also likely to generate criticism in the US, particularly in the light if the former's alleged collusion with Moscow.
Bolton, however, felt otherwise. He said there was nothing unusual in it as leaders from various western countries had bilateral talks with Putin the last one year.
Putin said prior to his meeting with Putin that he regretted that relations between Moscow and Washington were "not in the best of shape" and said the situation was so largely because of the US's "internal political struggle" - something he had said earlier as well.