Trump and Putin arrive for summit in Helsinki

The US President suggested "nothing bad's going to come out" of today's meeting with the Russian leader

Trump and Putin arrive for summit in Helsinki

Picture by: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP/Press Association Images

Updated 12:45pm

Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are meeting in Helsinki .

While the two men have met before at larger gatherings of world leaders, today's bilateral meeting marks the first official summit between the US and Russian leaders.

It comes only days after 12 Russian intelligence officers were charged in the US with hacking offences connected with alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Briefly speaking to reporters before the closed door meeting with his Russian counterpart, President Trump congratulated his Russian counterpart for hosting "one of the best ever" World Cups.

Addressing today's summit, he added: "We have discussions on everything from trade to military to missiles to nuclear to China.

"I think we have great opportunities together as two countries... frankly we have not been getting along very well for the last number of years [...] I think we will end up having an extraordinary relationship."

He also said it was "not a good thing" that the two countries control the vast majority of the world's nuclear arsenal, noting: "I hope we can do something about that".

'Low expectations'

In a tweet ahead of the summit, President Trump blamed the US itself for poor relations with Russia - highlighting the ongoing special counsel probe into alleged election interference.

In an earlier interview, Donald Trump indicated he had 'low expectations' over the meeting.

In an interview with CBS Evening News in Scotland, he suggested that Russia was a 'foe' of the US - along with the EU and China.

He explained: "I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe. Russia is foe in certain respects.

"China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn't mean they are bad. It doesn't mean anything. It means that they are competitive."

On the meeting with Mr Putin in particular, he observed: "Nothing bad's going to come out of it, and maybe some good will come out.

"I go in with low expectations - I'm not going in with high expectations. I can't tell you what is going to happen."

Tensions

Today's meeting also takes place against the backdrop of continuing tensions between Russia and the West over controversies such as the novichok poisonings in the UK and the ongoing conflict in Syria.

In a brief statement ahead of today's summit, the Kremlin said the two leaders will "discuss Russian-US relations and their further development, as well as current international matters".

Today's summit is also the final event in President Trump's European visit, which saw him take part in a NATO summit in Brussels followed by a four-day visit to England and Scotland.