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Trump Meets Putin in Helsinki: Why it Matters

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U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shake hand at the beginning of a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Today, President Donald Trump and Russian President, Vladimir Putin, met in Helsinki Finland. The leaders met alone with only their translators present. Last week, U.S. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s office issued indictments of numerous Russian military and intelligence officials for cyberattacks against the United States. Many experts believe the timing of the indictments was not coincidental. After his meeting with Putin, Trump referenced the need to deal with nuclear proliferation and China. He did not reference dominant geopolitical issues, vis-à-vis Russia, such as Russia’s incursions into Eastern Ukraine, Crimea and Georgia, and its military support for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Baltic states, like Lithuania, consistently voice worry about Russian aggression to the Trump administration. Since there was official agenda, and no plans to make significant commitments, why should we care about this meeting? To answer, we’re joined by Uri Friedman, a global affairs writer at The Atlantic, and Russia expert, Matthew Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center.

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