Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Europe shocked after Trump-Putin meeting in Helsinki

Europe shocked after Trump-Putin meeting
In the shock wave that followed the Monday meeting of US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, European allies, long concerned by flailing relations with Washington, have expressed shock at what appeared to be the American president's alignment with his Russian counterpart.

At the press conference after the meeting, the two leaders voiced their satisfaction with the meeting as a "very constructive" one that marks the "first important step" towards better ties.

The joint press conference was overshadowed by media questions about Moscow's alleged meddling with US elections, despite Putin's categorical denial of any interference and Trump's attacking of the findings of US intelligence agencies.

Blaming his predecessor Barack Obama and others for prior bad relations with Russia, Trump said, "I don't see any reason why they [Russians] would have done it."

Trump is facing a strong backlash at home as political allies and opponents react strongly to his words, including US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan who said the president "must appreciate that Russia is not our ally."

European allies have also reacted to Trump's position at the end of his meeting with Putin.

One of the strongest critiques came from German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who said in a statement "We can no longer rely on the White House." "To maintain our partnership with the US we must readjust it," Heiko Maas told the Funke newspaper group. "The first clear consequence can only be that we need to align ourselves even more closely in Europe."

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