Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia's new ambassador to Finland Pavel Kuznetsov disembark from an airplane upon arrival at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in Helsinki Monday ahead of a summit with President Donald Trump.
Now, it's Trump's turn to remake US-Russia relations, and he's already preemptively blamed the media for misrepresenting it.
"Most importantly we have a lot of good things to talk about", Trump said after opening his remarks with praise for Russia's hosting of the soccer World Cup. "Now you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe". He added: "There are quite a few of them for us to pay attention to".
"No, I look at them all", he said. I respect the leaders of those countries. Even before Trump's "foe" comment, European Union officials tell ABC News that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg privately told them, "Don't pay attention to the words, look to the deeds".
The summit, which was being closely monitored by rattled world capitals, was condemned in advance by members of Congress from both parties after the USA indictment last week of 12 Russian military intelligence officers accused of hacking Democrats in the 2016 election to help Trump's presidential campaign.
Russian Federation earned some moderate criticism from the president Sunday, however. Russian Federation is foe in certain respects.
Trump says he will use the meeting to find areas of cooperation with Putin, who is also critical of Western institutions such as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the EU.
"President Obama thought that Crooked Hillary was going to win the election, so when he was informed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation about Russian Meddling, he said it couldn't happen, was no big deal, & did NOTHING about it". "I have president Putin, he just said it's not Russian Federation".More news: Here are the 70 new emoji coming to iOS
But absent from Trump's push to reshape Russian Federation relations is any focus on Russia's behavior itself.
The sides reserved three hours for the tete-a-tete talks, which will be followed by the lunch and a news conference where Putin and Trump will answer four questions - two from each Russian and American sides. "It means that they are competitive".
EU President Donald Tusk suggested that US President Donald Trump was "spreading fake news" by calling Europe a US foe and urged the Trump-Putin summit on Monday to protect the world order.
"That's what one of the purposes of this meeting is, so the president can see eye-to-eye with President Putin and ask him about it", Bolton said.
"I think the probe is a disaster for our country", Trump said.
Trump, meanwhile, has numerous talking points on the agenda, including the ongoing conflict in Syria and the annexation of Crimea. "I will say this".
Trump did not respond; Putin appeared to smirk.
Trump also said he's confident Washington and Moscow can improve relations and said a friendly and productive relationship is "a good thing".