United States President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had their first one-on-one meeting on Friday. At the end of the more than two-hour long interaction, which was held on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Germany’s Hamburg, Trump and Putin addressed reporters together.
The highly-anticipated meeting, which was originally scheduled for 45 minutes, comes at a time when the Trump administration is warding off allegations that Moscow intervened in the US Presidential elections, The Washington Post reported.
“President Putin and I have been discussing various things, and I think it is going very well,” Trump said. He said it was an “honour” to meet the Russian president, while Putin said he was “delighted to meet you [Trump] personally”.
“We have had some very, very good talks,” the US President said. “We are going to have a talk now and obviously that will continue. We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, for the United States and for everybody concerned.”
Meanwhile, protests against capitalism, Trump and Putin’s presence in Germany turned violent with at least 76 police personnel sustaining injuries in clashes with protestors. Earlier on Friday, US First Lady Melania Trump was forced to stay in her hotel on account of the protests.
Relations between the two countries are tense given the continued US’ sanctions against Russia for invading Crimea, an ongoing Federal Bureau of Investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections and the prevailing situation in Syria, where the US and Russia are on opposite sides of a civil war while both also target the Islamic State group in the region.
The last time a US President met Putin was Barack Obama in 2015. However, Russia launched its first strike in Syria almost immediately afterwards, pushing back any efforts at a stalemate between the two historically sparring countries.
Trump has called for closer ties with Russia ever since he began his presidential campaign and repeatedly praised Putin. This has led some critics argue that Trump is too soft on Putin and may even be maliciously manipulated by him.