Date Not Set for Future Presidential Summit
By Kennedy Applebaum
February 10, 2017
Russia and Donbass watchers have anxiously awaited a face-to-face meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the two most prominent leaders of the free world. Putin has extended the first gesture, accepting Slovenian President Borut Pahor’s offer to host such a meeting in Ljubljana. Putin met today at the Kremlin with Pahor, who is in Russia on an official visit. The two presidents also discussed prospects for developing Russian-Slovenian relations.
Optimistically, a Trump-Putin summit offers hope for a beginning of resolutions on the Ukraine civil war. as well as for the Syrian crisis. Donetsk People’s Republic leader Alexander Zakharchenko has expressed cautious optimism about President Trump, saying earlier this week that he “trusts Trump more than he trusts Poroshenko or Tymoshenko, [whose] words have little to do with reality.” Albeit weak praise, it is doubtful Zakharchenko would have expressed such trust in Obama.
So far, Trump has not given a clear signal as to how he will handle Ukraine, nor what to expect from his likely upcoming talks with Ukraine’s post-coup President Petro Poroshenko. However some Russian analysts, such as Eduard Popov, believe the US President and his team know exactly what is going on in Donbass, and are not fooled by Kiev propaganda. Another cause for uncertainty is that Putin himself does not show enough support the Donbass Republics to adequately represent their interests, although the Russian President and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov have displayed greater courage toward the West in the last few days.
In another development, the US has been flying Global Hawk surveillance drones during the past week over the contact line between the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Kiev-controlled sector of the Donetsk Oblast. Such UAV’s have flown periodic missions over the Black Sea for some time, but we believe this direct surveillance of Donbass is a new operation. Our positive interpretation is that President Trump, who says he “calls [his] own shots based on an accumulation of data”, is now accumulating data about conditions on the ground in the Donbass war, and will use this intelligence wisely.
We anticipate a summit between the two superpower Presidents both with high expectations, but also with a measure of trepidation, as the future of Novorossiya may hang in the balance.
Two articles below give more detail on the proposed meeting between the two pragmatic world leaders.
BREAKING: Vladimir Putin Suggests Slovenia as Meeting Place with Donald Trump
By Adam Garrie
February 10, 2017
Vladimir Putin is ready to meet with Donald Trump and has even suggested a meeting place – Slovenia. Now the ball is America’s court. RT reports that the Russian President stated: “Ljubljana – and Slovenia in general – is of course a great place to hold such dialogue.” President Putin went on to state that in spite of the fact that US-Russian relations have deteriorated so badly under the last five years of the Obama administration: “We have always welcomed and count on restoring our relations to the full scale and in all directions, but it depends not only on us, but also on the American side.” The White House has yet to comment on these remarks.
The ball is clearly now in America’s court. It was recently reported that it would be months before such a meeting could be arranged, but today’s statement from Putin confirming a possible if not likely venue (Bush and Putin met in Slovenia in 2001), means that certain wheels are turning behind the scenes.
Donald Trump’s clearly stated intention of wanting better relations with Moscow has been receptively welcomed by the Kremlin as well as many members of the Russian State Duma. It is now up to Donald Trump’s administration to carry out their end of the bargain, in spite of the predictable vitriol from anti-Russian Republican Senators like John McCain and Lindsey Graham as well as the Democratic party establishment and elements of the deep state.
Putin Hails Slovenia’s Offer to Host his Meeting with Trump
WKBN First News
February 10, 2017
The Russian leader hailed Slovenia, where Trump’s wife Melania was born and grew up, as an “excellent” venue for possible talks with Trump.
MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin thanked Slovenia on Friday for offering to host his first meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, but added that the prospect hinges on Washington. The Russian leader hailed Slovenia, where Trump’s wife Melania was born and grew up, as an “excellent” venue for possible talks with Trump.
“It depends not only on us, but we are naturally ready for it,” he said.
Speaking after holding talks at the Kremlin with his Slovenian counterpart Borut Pahor, Putin said Russia welcomes Trump’s statements about his intentions to restore the strained Russia-U.S. ties.
“We always welcomed that and we hope that relations will be restored in full in all areas,” Putin said. “It relates to trade and economic ties, security issues and various regions of the world, which are suffering from numerous conflicts. By pooling our efforts, we naturally would be able to significantly contribute to solving those issues, including the fight against international terrorism.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he’s looking forward to an opportunity to talk to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Germany, where they both will attend a security conference and a meeting of the G-20 foreign ministers next week. Lavrov told NTV television that Putin and Trump agreed about the need to meet soon during their phone call on Jan. 28 and told diplomats to negotiate the time and venue.
In recent years, Russia-U.S. relations have plunged to post-Cold war lows over the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and the allegations of Russia hacking of the Democrats in the U.S. presidential election.
In 2001, Slovenia hosted Putin’s first meeting with former U.S. President George W. Bush that led to a short-lived thaw in relations between Moscow and Washington. A similarly short warm spell early during Barack Obama’s presidency gave way to new tensions.
[Ambassador Sergei] Kislyak told Russian media in Washington that he sees little chance for a compromise on missile defense…. He voiced hope, however, that joint efforts to fight the IS could help break the ice in Russia-U.S. ties. “If we have serious cooperation, it could help to start rebuilding trust,” Kislyak said in televised remarks.
Lavrov said Friday that Putin and Trump had a “good, detailed talk” about nuclear non-proliferation, including issues related to Iran and North Korea during their phone call.