“I think we have great opportunities together,” Trump, seated next to Putin, told reporters before a 90-minute closed-door meeting between the leaders. “And frankly we have not been getting along very well in the last number of years. It’s getting close to two years.”
But he added: “I think we will have an extraordinary relationship. I really think the world wants to see us get along.”
The president again congratulated Putin on the country’s “spectacular” hosting of the World Cup. He said the leaders would discuss trade, nuclear issues and China.
Putin appeared uncomfortable as he sat silently next to Trump during the brief photo opportunity, somewhat hunched over in his chair. The two leaders shook hands when Trump finished speaking but didn’t smile at one another.
The meeting consisted of only Trump, Putin and some interpreters, Finnish officials told assembled White House reporters. It lasted about two hours.
Hours earlier, Trump lambasted his own government for poor U.S. relations with Russia. And, on Sunday, Trump said he didn’t hold high expectations for the meeting, but “nothing bad is going to come out of it and maybe some good will come out.”
He said last week during a NATO summit in Brussels that his meeting with Putin “might be the easiest of them all,” referring to talks he held with European leaders, including U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May.
This article has been updated to include more information about the meeting.