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Putin, Obama To Meet At June G8 Summit


Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and U.S. President Barack Obama during a June 2012 meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and U.S. President Barack Obama during a June 2012 meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico

Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama plan to meet on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Northern Ireland in June and to hold more substantial talks in connection with September's G20 summit in St. Petersburg.

The agreement was announced following talks in Moscow on April 15 between U.S. national security adviser Thomas Donilon and senior Russian officials, including Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The White House said Donilon's discussions in Moscow were "comprehensive and constructive."

Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov told journalists the situation on the Korean Peninsula was discussed and the two sides found "common ground."

Donilon also conveyed a message from Obama to Putin that Russian officials characterized as "constructive."

Earlier, Lavrov told reporters that Donilon, along with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during talks last week, had acknowledged problems with the countries’ bilateral relations.

"Both John Kerry and Tom Donilon have told me that [U.S. President Barack] Obama's administration understands a serious and irritating effect, to put it mildly, that these things have on the U.S.-Russia relations and will undertake measures to remove those irritants," Lavrov said. "Well, we'll see. To say the least, we will judge according to actions, not words."

Tense Backdrop

Among the irritants, Lavrov cited the U.S. Magnitsky list of Russian officials tied to the 2009 death in custody of whistle-blowing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

On April 12, Washington imposed visa bans and asset freezes on 16 officials connected with Magnitsky's death and two others accused of other human rights abuses. Moscow responded with its own sanctions against U.S. officials it says have abused the rights of Russian citizens.

Lavrov also mentioned the deaths of Russian children adopted by U.S. citizens. The death in January of three-year-old Max Shatto, born Maksim Kuzmin, in Texas sparked a bilateral crisis after Russian officials accused his adoptive parents of "murder."

Russia suspended the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens in January following several similar cases. Americans have adopted more than 60,000 Russian children since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS, Interfax, and AFP
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