Bolton’s Moscow Trip Seen As Prelude To Trump-Putin Meeting

National security adviser John Bolton is heading to Europe on a trip that will also take him to Moscow, with expectations that he will clear the way for a July meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Radio Free Liberty reported.

Bolton is scheduled to first meet with U.S. allies on June 25-26 in London and Rome before traveling on June 27 to Moscow, where a spokesman has said he would “discuss a potential meeting” between Trump and Putin. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said over the weekend that Trump was likely to meet Putin “in the not-too-distant future.”

The location of such a meeting has not been set, although officials have said it could take place in Vienna – as an Austrian newspaper said teams from the United States and Russia were already in Vienna preparing for a July 15 meeting between the two leaders.

Trump is scheduled to attend a NATO summit in Brussels on July 11-12 and then visit Britain on July 13. If Putin were to meet Trump on July 15, he would have to quickly return to Russia to attend the final of the World Cup in Moscow, which starts at 5 p.m. that day, RFL added.

However, TASS news agency on June 24 said the Kremlin was not ready to comment on a potential Trump-Putin summit. “We are not ready to provide this information. We will inform you as soon as we are ready,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Trump and Putin have met twice on the sidelines of international summits and they have spoken at least eight times by telephone. Trump said in March he would meet Putin soon, but since then ties between Washington and Moscow have further deteriorated over the conflict in Syria and the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain, which the West blames on Moscow.

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