First meeting between Trump and Putin

The first face-to-face meeting between Trump and Putin was eagerly anticipated and for some observers more important than the G20 summit itself. The two presidents spoke to each other for over two hours in Hamburg and then exchanged accolades. How do observers assess the meeting?

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Sydsvenskan (SE) /

Spiritual brothers

The meeting between Trump and Putin in conjunction with the latest revelations about contacts between the Trump clan and Russia are a cause for major concern in Sydsvenskan's view:

“The Russia expert Anne Applebaum is warning of an alliance between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. They may have different views on various concrete issues, but they are spiritual brothers, she believes. They agree in their stance on democracy, fixation on the individual/personality cult and nationalism. Russia has nothing to lose by trying to influence American politics. But the world stands to lose everything if Trump continues to gamble away the US's role as a decisive factor in the world order.”

El País (ES) /

More than national security is at stake

El País also sees similarities between Trump and Putin and hopes that they will finally receive more attention:

“What won't be discussed unless we put it on the table is the real goal both Trump and Putin are pursuing: shifting the global political conversation to the dimension of national security. Sidelining all the global problems - from international trade to the environment - and focusing attention on terrorist and military threats. … Our task is to avoid getting caught up in the media scandals about spies and conspiracies. … And we certainly shouldn't try to mediate here. It's impossible. But it is possible to mobilise global opinion and to stress that the planet faces more important challenges than the patriotic games that Trump and Putin play.”

RBK (RU) /

Washington and Moscow must avoid war

The news that Trump and Putin have agreed on a ceasefire in Syria is cause for optimism, the business paper RBK believes:

“The main task now facing the US and Russia is to avoid going to war with each other. The real issue isn't the problems of Syria, Ukraine or North Korea. Nevertheless these problems create the conditions for a Russian-American clash. ... From that perspective the agreement on a de-escalation zone in southwest Syria is significant. If contrary to similar agreements this one can be implemented, it could provide a model for American-Russian cooperation in the context of their rivalry. Just such a functioning model is indispensable for the confrontation to remain peaceful.”

Die Welt (DE) /

Putin got the better of Trump

Putin has come away the winner from his meeting with Trump, Die Welt believes:

“Clearly the expert politician knocked out the political novice according to all the rules of this art. ... Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the US president had accepted Putin's assurances that Russia did not unduly interfere with the American elections. Consequently for Trump the word of an autocrat weighs heavier than the findings of the 16 American intelligence agencies. ... Trump cleared Putin of the charges levelled by his agencies and at the same time gave the Russian a free hand in Syria. And what has the American brought home from this historic encounter? Even the White House is at a loss for an answer.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Bad news for Europe

Trump tried to curry favour with Putin in any way he could, De Volkskrant is sure:

“Particularly for America's traditional allies in Europe, this was an unsettling summit. While Trump repeatedly subjected his European dialogue partners to cold showers he rolled out the red carpet for Russia's President Putin. … Trump mentioned Russian interference in the US election, but clearly only because it was expected of him. Russia's troublemaking in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea were also pushed into the background. It's no wonder the Russians were celebrating after this 'historic' encounter.”