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Putin and Trump morph into one on Time front cover as world continues to react to Helsinki summit

President Putin today told Russian diplomats his views following the summit in Helsinki on Monday.

PastedImage-70770 Source: Time Magazine

ON THE SAME day Time Magazine released a cover which sees Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s faces merge into one, Putin made his first public comments about the Helsinki summit.

According to Time, the composite image by artist Nancy Burson is “meant to represent this particular moment in US foreign policy”  and the faces were merged to represent “the shifting appearances of the two world leaders”.

The artist said her goal in doing this is to help readers stop and think about the similarities between the two leaders.

 

Putin told Russian diplomats that US-Russian relations are “in some ways worse than during the Cold War”.

He added that his meeting with Trump on Monday allowed them to start on “the path to positive change” and called his first summit with President Donald Trump a success.

But Putin warned that Trump’s opponents in the US are hampering any progress on what they discussed, such as limiting their nuclear arsenals or ending the Syrian war.

US-Russia relations

Speaking today President Putin said “It’s naive to think that the problems would be solved in a few hours. But no one expected that”.

“We will see how things develop further,” Putin said, evoking unnamed “forces” in the US trying to prevent any improvement in relations and “putting narrow party interests above the national interest.”

Putin faces no serious political opposition at home, and leads a country that has never experienced a democratic transfer of power.

Trump by contrast, has come under widespread domestic criticism about the meeting both from Democratic opponents and senior Republicans.

The president notably flip-flopped repeatedly over what exactly he said to Putin at the summit, and whether he believes that Russia meddled in the 2016 election campaign on Trump’s behalf.

Trump recently tweeted about his critics in the media.

Trump tweet s

This was to in attempt to push back against criticism following the lengthy one-on-one meeting Trump held with Putin in Finland on Monday.

He followed this up with a tweet saying that he looks forward to the next meeting with President Putin.

Trump tweet

In a possible dig at Trump’s unpredictable presidency, Putin vaunted Russia’s “consistent, responsible, independent foreign policy.”

Putin had both criticism and praise for Trump in a broad speech about Russian foreign policy.

The Russian leader praised Trump’s mediation efforts in North Korea, but slammed his decision to pull out of the international accord curbing Iran’s nuclear activities.

He also lashed out at Europe and US-dominated NATO, saying Russia would hit back with an “equivalent response” to NATO bases near Russia’s borders and other “aggressive steps.”

He didn’t elaborate further on this.

Russian politicians are rallying behind Putin and shrugging off Trump’s wildly contradictory accounts of what he said to Putin at Monday’s summit.

Thee politicians are angry however at proposals by US lawmakers to question Trump’s translator about what the men discussed privately.

Konstantin Kosachev, head of the upper house of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said the idea sets a dangerous precedent that threats “the whole idea of diplomacy,” according to Russian news agencies.

With reporting by Cathy Lee. 

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