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Putin, Trump To Meet July 7 On Sidelines Of G20 Summit


Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and U.S. President Donald Trump will meet in Hamburg on July 7.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump on July 7 in Hamburg, Germany, on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit.

It will be the first face-to-face meeting between the two men since Trump took office in January.

"It has been agreed for July 7," Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov told reporters in Moscow on July 4.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the event was "planned as a fully-fledged, 'seated' meeting" to discuss bilateral issues rather than a brief
on-the-go encounter.

The White House later confirmed that the bilateral meeting will be held on the afternoon of July 7, according to the Reuters and dpa new agencies.

The meeting comes as relations between Moscow and Washington sank to lows unseen since the Cold War amid rancor over Moscow’s illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014, its backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine, its alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the war in Syria, and other issues.

Trump's administration is under intense scrutiny over any links with the Kremlin following accusations by U.S. intelligence officials that Putin personally ordered a computer-hacking and public-opinion-manipulation campaign to try to help Trump win the November election.

The Kremlin rejects the allegation.

The White House had previously confirmed that a meeting between Trump and Putin would take place on the sidelines of the July 7-8 G20 summit but did not specify the date.

General H.R. McMaster, the White House national security adviser, said on June 29 that there was "no specific agenda" for Trump's meeting with Putin.

McMaster said Trump would emphasize "whatever the president wants to talk about."

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told journalists on July 4 that "both Syria and Ukraine will be in the focus, but the agenda will not be limited to this."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that it was especially important for Putin and Trump to discuss the war in Syria.

The two leaders have spoken by phone at least twice since Trump took office.

During his election campaign, Trump repeatedly praised Putin and vowed that he would work to improve ties with Russia.

But hopes have dimmed in Moscow for improved ties with the United States in recent months.

The G20 summit will bring together the heads of state and government from the world's leading economic powers to discuss the fight against terrorism, climate change, free trade, and other issues.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa, Interfax, and TASS
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