After eviscerating U.S. policy towards Russia, President Donald Trump met with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, behind closed doors in Helsinki in July.
The details of the nearly two-hour-long private meeting were not even disclosed to Trump's top advisers at the time. But a newly-revealed Russian document, obtained by Politico, helps provide some insight into the dialogue between the two leaders.
As per an English-language translation of the paperwork, Putin presented a list of requests to Trump, including negotiations on controlling nuclear arms and banning weapons in space.
"The memo points to a surprising normalcy in the priorities that Putin brought to the meeting, which included a willingness to extend a series of landmark nuclear treaties and pursue new weapons limits," Politico reported.
One of the highlights of the document is Putin's request for a five-year extension for the so-called New START Treaty limiting nuclear arms. It capped the number of strategic nuclear weapons each country could deploy. The agreement was signed by Putin and then-U.S. President Barack Obama.
It's important to note here while Putin seeks an extension to the New START Treaty, Trump, in his first call as president to Moscow in February 2017, denounced it as "one of the several bad deals negotiated by the Obama administration."
In fact, during a presidential campaign debate, Trump, a candidate in the 2016 presidential election, said Russia had “outsmarted” the United States with the treaty, which he erroneously called “START-Up," while incorrectly asserting it provided Russia the advantage of pursuing more nuclear warheads while the United States could not.
Arms control remains a standard point of discussion between the two countries. But the widespread allegations surrounding Russian meddling in 2016 U.S. presidential elections and ensuing investigations have become a more pressing point of concern over the past months.
In fact, some U.S. lawmakers had even called on Trump to pull out of the Helsinki summit on July 16 after 12 Russian intelligence officers, accused of launching cyber attacks on the Democratic presidential campaign in 2016, were charged on July 13.
However, not only did Trump went ahead with the meeting but also slammed the previous administration for failing to forge friendly relations with Moscow.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque