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Kremlin says Putin, Trump may meet one-on-one in Helsinki

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump during a photo session of world leaders on the closing day of the 25th APEC Summit on Nov. 11, 2017 in Da Nang, Vietnam. (Metzel Mikhail/TASS/Zuma Press/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart may meet in private during their summit in Helsinki later this month.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on July 3 that if both sides agree, Putin and Donald Trump could meet tête-à-tête without their aides before the start of the official meeting in the Finnish capital on July 16.

Putin “feels absolutely comfortable in all formats that are comfortable for his interlocutors,” Peskov said, adding that the Kremlin “doesn’t rule out” a one-on-one meeting between the two presidents.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have deteriorated to a post-Cold War low over issues including Russia’s seizure of Crimea in March 2014, its role in wars in Syria and eastern Ukraine, and its meddling into the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Peskov said on July 2 that the Russian president is open to searching for compromises with Trump on “all” issues except the status of Ukraine’s Crimea region, which Moscow claims is part of Russia.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and TASS