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Russian President Putin Could Be Visiting White House Soon

04-03-2018
Trump Putin
Trump Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin could be visiting the White House for the first time in more than a decade. 

The Kremlin says President Donald Trump proposed the meeting with Putin when they spoke by phone last month. 

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House was among "a number of potential venues" being discussed for the meeting. 

Both sides said they haven't started preparations for the visit.

If the meeting happens, this will be Putin's first appearance since meeting with President George W. Bush at the White House in 2005. 

Many diplomats and foreign policy leaders are apprehensive about a potential meeting for fear that Trump might not confront Putin about Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election or allegations that Russia masterminded the March 4 nerve agent attack on a former Russian double agent.

"It would confer a certain normalization of relations and we're certainly not in a normal space," said Alina Polyakova, a foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution. "Nothing about this is normal."

Since the call between the two world leaders, two dozen countries, including the US, have expelled more than 150 Russian diplomats in a show of support with Britain over the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former spy, and his daughter, Yulia.

Russia has denied any involvement in the nerve agent attack and retaliated by expelling the same number of diplomats from each nation. 

Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, told reporters he hopes that tensions resulting from the diplomatic expulsions wouldn't derail discussions about a summit.

Trump has said maintaining a strong personal relationship with Putin is in America's interest and has signaled to allies that he trusts his own instincts in dealing with the Russian president.

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