President Donald Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin face-to-face for the first time at the G20 summit in Germany next week, White House officials confirmed Thursday.
National security advisor H.R. McMaster made the announcement during a briefing with reporters Thursday, refusing to comment further on details of the meeting between the leaders of the two world super powers. National Economic Director Gary Cohn insisted Trump’s planned bilateral meeting with Putin will be no different than his meetings with other world leaders at G20, like German Chancellor Angela Merkel or Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The major difference with Russia, however, is that it has been a big source of controversy for the Trump administration since the election. Critics have focused specifically on the relationships among the president, his cabinet and the Russian government. In fact, a special investigation is currently underway as to whether there was any collusion between Trump’s colleagues and the Kremlin in Russia's bid to interfere with the United States’ 2016 presidential election.
Tensions between Trump and Putin spiked in April, when the United States bombed Syria in response to a chemical attack carried out in the country. The Russians sided with the Syrians in the aftermath of the incident.