Lavrov Says Summit Will Be Success If Communications Reopened

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A Kremlin official said on Friday that Macron was also expected to brief Putin on the recent North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, and that they would discuss Putin's impending meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Helsinki on Monday.

"I'd think [he] might remember that it was North Atlantic Treaty Organisation that stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States after 9/11, among many other contributions", he said.

Trump, a 72-year-old former NY real estate developer who praises his own dealmaking skills, and Putin, a 65-year-old former KGB spy who cultivates a macho image as a Russian man of action, are due to have some time alone at the summit.

Trump's chief diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said Trump and Putin should meet as planned.

During a joint news conference with UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, Trump said he would "absolutely" ask the Russian president about alleged election meddling, the BBC reported.

Ahead of the summit, Trump criticised Germany on Twitter for what he called its dependence on Russian energy, and during the event he hit out on Twitter at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members' spending contributions to the defence alliance.

A sanctions bill passed past year, known as the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, gave Congress further powers to review and potentially block any efforts by the White House to dilute commerce restrictions on Russian Federation.

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He also noted that no one would be able to block Ukrainian integration into NATO: "Neither externally, I mean Russian Federation, nor from within Ukraine, we will not tolerate any fifth column, nor from within NATO".

"Start treating Putin like you do with the Democrats - tough, strong, 'we're not going to take your nonsense", he said.

Other Senate Democrats joined Schumer's call for Trump to drop his upcoming meeting with Putin including Sen. "If we can do something to substantially reduce them [nuclear weapons], I mean, ideally get rid of them, maybe that's a dream, but certainly it's a subject that I'll be bringing up with him", Trump stressed.

Donald Trump's portrayal of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as an alliance in crisis has raised concern that the USA president's nagging criticism might erode US public support and risk America's commitment to collective defense, diplomats said. But now Trump is under pressure - including from several members of Congress from his own party - to finally confront Putin once and for all over trying to sabotage the election that put Trump in the White House.

"I've never seen a president say anything as odd or counterproductive as President Trump's harangue against North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Germany".

"The United States looks forward to finalising a great bilateral trade deal", he said, and repeatedly praised May's leadership, saying she was a "terrific woman". Referring to a TV courtroom drama aired in the 1950s and 1960s that often featured a dramatic, last-minute confession, he added, "There won't be a Perry Mason here, I don't think, but you never know what happens, right?"

Replying to that, Trump blamed former US President Barack Obama for not doing enough at the time to respond to the crisis. Schiff said on CNN that Trump should "cut his losses on this disastrous trip to Europe" and return without engaging with the Russian leader.

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