Trump, Putin to hold talks in Moscow

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks on Tuesday in Moscow, with the leaders likely to discuss efforts to improve ties between their nations.

A statement from the White House said the leaders will also hold a joint press conference later Tuesday.

Trump will be accompanied by Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, who is also expected to visit the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

The two leaders are scheduled to hold bilateral meetings later in the day.

“President Trump and President Putin will be in Moscow on Tuesday to discuss issues related to the ongoing nuclear deal between the United States and Russia,” the White Hill statement said.

“The two leaders will discuss efforts by the United Nations to expand the scope of the nuclear deal and to increase the role of the United Nation Security Council, and they will also discuss efforts in the region to ensure that the nuclear agreement is respected by all countries.”

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Putin had received Trump’s statement and the two leaders planned to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

“We discussed the situation of Ukraine and the situation with the United Kingdom and other countries, including the United Sates, and we discussed all options, including military options, to restore peace in Ukraine,” Peskov told reporters at the Kremlin.

He did not say if Putin would visit the Sochi resort, which was closed to tourists earlier this year as part of a NATO-Russia military exercise.

Peskov said Putin was “very happy” with Trump’s decision to reopen the United State’s diplomatic mission in Sochi.

Trump’s announcement on Tuesday was made in response to a letter from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who wrote to Trump to ask for his support in returning the United states to its pre-Cold War status.

McCain said Trump had told him that the United Russia party, led by Putin, was a major obstacle to reopening the embassy.

“You cannot reopen the embassy,” McCain said in his letter to Trump.

“I ask you to send a clear signal to Putin, that America stands firmly behind Russia, and will stand firm against any efforts to undermine our security or our sovereignty, or our democracy.

We will not tolerate it.”

The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution in September reaffirming that Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the destabilization of eastern Ukraine was illegal.

Putin has repeatedly dismissed the resolution as a ploy to derail his plans to expand his power and control over the former Soviet republics.

Trump and Putin spoke briefly in December during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, where they were photographed shaking hands.

The Kremlin has said it hopes to hold a second summit between the two nations at the end of the year.

The Trump administration has said the president does not support the U.K. leaving the European Union, although the White Helmets charity that is part of the international rescue mission to deliver aid to Ukraine is part-Russian.