Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin give their spins on Helsinki summit | News | DW | 17.07.2018
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Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin give their spins on Helsinki summit

In an interview with US media, Trump claimed Germany's chancellor is "paying Russia billions of dollars." Putin claimed a probe into Russian meddling is just "political games." Both appeared fond of newfound relations.

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Trump's European trip 'an unblemished win for Putin'

In two separate interviews to US broadcaster Fox News, US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday offered their views on the Helsinki summit, offering insight into their key takeaways.

The high-profile meeting on Monday saw Trump claim there was "no reason to believe" Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election, days after 13 Russian agents were arrested for allegedly meddling. Trump credited Putin's "strong" denial for his answer.

The meeting was met with widespread criticism from US Republican and Democratic lawmakers. Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said Trump "must appreciate that Russia is not our ally" and that it "remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals."

But Trump appeared to see things differently. He later made false statements on Germany's relationship with Russia and defense spending in NATO, while siding with Putin's assessment of Russian meddling.

Read more: Opinion: Trump-Putin summit was a troubling media circus

What Trump said:

On German Chancellor Angela Merkel:

  • "She's paying Russia billions of dollars. Of course, that's her choice, but there's a little problem with that."

On Trump–Russia dossier:

  • Putin "said as strongly as you can say it, they have no information on Trump … And one thing you know: If they had it, it would have been out."

On the Russia probe and special counsel Robert Mueller:

  • "I don't think the people out in the country buy it, but the reporters like to give it a shot. I thought that President Putin was very, very strong."

On NATO:

  • "We are paying for 91 percent of the cost of keeping Europe safe … NATO is wonderful, but it helps Europe a lot more than it helps us."

Read more: Europe can no longer rely on the US, says Germany's Heiko Maas

What Putin said:

On Trump–Russia dossier:

  • "We don't have anything on him. There can't be anything on him. I don't want to insult President Trump … but before he announced he would run for presidency, he was of no interest to us."

On the Russia probe and special counsel Robert Mueller:

  • "Those are internal political games of the US. Don't hold the relationship between Russia and the US hostage to this internal political struggle."

On the status of Crimea:

  • "We are aware of President Trump's posture, that Crimea is part of Ukraine. He told me this today."

Read more: Ukrainians nervous that Trump, Putin could decide on Crimea question

ls/aw (AP, AFP, dpa)

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