President Donald Trump’s desire to begin his summit with Vladimir Putin with a one-on-one meeting “absolutely suits” the Russian leader, the Kremlin said Tuesday.
Asked in a conference call with reporters if the Russian side would be comfortable with such a format, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “It absolutely suits us. You know that President Putin feels comfortable in any formats that are comfortable for his counterparts.”
The Kremlin spokesman added that “a face-to-face meeting between Putin and Trump will take place at the beginning” of the summit, if a preliminary agreement were to be reached with the US side.
As exemplified by the summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore last month, Trump has an affinity toward face-to-face meetings with world leaders. In the case of Putin, Trump has already assessed their interpersonal ties up close, but wants more time to develop the leader-to-leader relationship, according to a person familiar with the summit’s planning.
Trump has said that he wants to talk to Putin about Ukraine, Syria and election tampering.
“I’ll talk to him about everything,” Trump said on Air Force One on Friday.
Some US officials have expressed concern about Putin and Trump meeting without note-takers or witnesses present, due to Putin’s reputation as a shrewd negotiator.
Trump and Putin will meet in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16, after Trump travels to the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, and to the United Kingdom.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak and Jamie Ehrlich contributed to this report.