The G20 summit is over, and for the most part, all world leaders have returned to their home countries. This year’s summit was one of intense turmoil on the outside and strange discussions inside. While protesters rained hell in the form of everything from stones to car fires outside (to the point that Germany had to request help from the European Union to stop it), what was happening inside between President Donald J. Trump and Vladimir Putin was… friendly.
Some would say chummy, even.
Conversations and Progress
Trump and Putin’s meeting lasted nearly two hours longer than they had scheduled. The two world leaders spoke at length about the current U.S. political atmosphere and whether or not Russia really did intervene in the last election.
A survey by the Russian embassy showed that nearly 26 percent of all responders felt that the meeting was a sign of “progress” between the two world leaders, both as a whole and in relation to the last election.
Trump and Putin’s odd camaraderie caught the attention of more than one media outlet, with speculations for the reasoning ranging from the outright absurd to the abjectly sensible. Overall, their discussions did seem to move relations between the U.S. and Russia forward.
But that doesn’t mean that all is well; the current POTUS still had tough questions for Putin when they met.
Sanctions, Interference, and Future Relations
The White House and Trump seemed at odds over exactly what was discussed at the meeting. Originally, the White House reported that the pair discussed sanctions against Russia, but Trump later denied that in a tweet.
“…sanctions were not discussed at my meeting with President Putin. Nothing will be done until the Ukrainian & Syrian problems are solved!”
White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed and clarified the denial.
“There were sanctions specific to election meddling that I believe were discussed, but not beyond that.”
Speaking of Syria and the Ukraine, the two world leaders did discuss both locations and managed to reach a tentative ceasefire in Crimea.
Trump also directly questioned Putin on interference into the last election; the Prime Minister, of course, denied any interference on behalf of Russia. Trump seemed to accept the denial at face value, moving on to other conversations and topics.
Some U.S. political analysts found the acceptance strange; why would the POTUS be so quick to accept Russia’s word? Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, claimed he was “stunned,” but thought the acceptance may have been less of an agreement and more of an attempt to move the conversation forward after a stalemate on the matter.
Russia, as usual, had a much different outlook on the situation. Diplomat, Sergey Lavrov, denied the conversation was a debate tactic, and said that, “US President Trump said that he heard firm assertions from Russian President Putin that it is not true and that Russian authorities have not meddled in the elections.” He mentioned that Trump, “said that he accepts these assertions —that’s it.”
Putin himself also agreed with Lavrov’s outlook, and redirected the press back to Trump himself.
“He asked many questions on the subject, I tried to answer them all. It seems to me that he has taken note of that and agreed, but it’s better to ask him about his attitude.”
The POTUS didn’t seem ready to respond to queries, however, and quickly shut down questions.
“I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election. He vehemently denied it. I’ve already given my opinion. Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!”
Irrespective of the differences in opinion from political experts, most agree that the conversation was a sign that the U.S. and Russia are moving forward. Supporters felt heartened by the meeting, while dissenters felt it would only give Russia more credence to interfere with the next election.