Trump and Putin to meet for summit in Helsinki on July 16th

It's the first major official meeting between the two men, who have previously met at larger summits

Trump and Putin to meet for summit in Helsinki on July 16th

Picture by: Mikhail Klimentyev/Zuma Press/PA Images

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will meet in Finland next month, it has been confirmed.

The first official summit between the two men will take place in Helsinki on July 16th.

They have previously met in person on two occasions - at summits in Vietnam and Hamburg - and are said to have 'regularly' spoken over the phone.

In a statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said: "The two leaders will discuss relations between the United States and Russia and a range of national security issues."

Next month's summit will come after years of escalating tension between Russia and western powers - including the tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions earlier this year after the UK accused Russia of being responsible for the Salisbury nerve agent attack (an accusation the Kremlin has denied).

The announcement comes only a day after President Trump's national security adviser John Bolton met President Putin in Russia to discuss the prospect of a presidential meeting.

Vladimir Putin and John Bolton. Image: Kremlin

Mr Putin said he was looking to discuss what "could be done on both sides to restore full-fledged relations" - adding that he feels the tensions between the two countries were largely the result of "sharp domestic political strife in the United States".

This morning, less than an hour before the summit was announced, President Trump took to Twitter to renew his criticism of the investigation into alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election:

Earlier this month, President Trump called for Russia to be reinstated into the G7 group of industrialised nations.

Russia was kicked out of the group in 2014 after it annexed Crimea.

However, other leaders rejected the call, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying it cannot happen unless 'substantial progress' is made over the problems with Ukraine.