US President Donald Trump blamed “US foolishness and stupidity” for bad relations between Washington and Moscow.
The US president made the comments on Twiter hours before his one-on-one meeting with President Vladimir Putin, reports Reuters on Monday.
The Russian foreign ministry “liked” Trump’s comments, in which Trump denounced the investigation into Russian meddling in American elections as well as previous US policy.
“Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” wrote Trump.
The Kremlin said it did not expect much from the meeting but hoped it would be a “first step” to resolving a crisis in ties.
“Presidents Trump and Putin respect each other and they get along well,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “There is no clear agenda. It will be determined by the heads of state themselves as they go along.”
Critics and Trump’s own advisers have urged Trump to use the summit to press Putin hard about “malign” activities, from annexing Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula to interfering in Western elections, to poisoning a spy in England, which Moscow denies.
During a breakfast meeting with Finland’s president before the meeting with Putin in the Finnish capital, Trump appeared upbeat. Asked what he would say to Putin, Trump said: “We’ll do just fine, thank you.”
Trump and his wife Melania returned to their hotel after the breakfast and were expected to remain there for a few hours.
Putin landed in Helsinki about 40 minutes behind schedule, and was expected to head directly to the summit.
The two leaders will hold a one-on-one with only interpreters, followed by a working lunch accompanied by advisers.
While Trump has been abroad since last week, the special prosecutor investigating allegations that Russia interfered to help him win the 2016 presidential election indicted 12 Russians on Friday for stealing Democratic Party documents.