EU leaders fear Trump will keep promise to bring troops home

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov left listens to U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby R-Ala. third right during his meeting with U.S. congressional delegation as U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr. attends the talks in Moscow Russia Tuesday July

Asked whether Trump shared his sharper perspective, Huntsman said, "The president will drive the discussion on malign activity and election meddling".

Russia's Vladimir Putin has gotten the most from Russia's military, occupying parts of Georgia and Ukraine and gaining influence in Syria by backing the Assad regime.

It comes as nations, especially in Eastern Europe, are lobbying the United States to increase the number of troops on the continent as they worry about combating an increasingly aggressive Russian Federation.

President Donald Trump is prepared to discuss Russian election meddling and other "malign" activities when he meets one-on-one with President Vladimir Putin later this month, the United States ambassador to Russia said. "We're entering with our eyes wide open, but peace is always worth the effort". The president has long spoken disdainfully of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and other multilateral institutions, including the European Union, and has been especially critical of Germany for not spending a bigger portion of its own budget on defense.

Also in the teleconference, Kay Bailey Hutchison, the USA envoy to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), said Russian Federation would be a key topic at the NATO summit in Belgium next week.

"And we are the schmucks who pay for the whole thing", he said, using a slang term for "fools".

"You know, I think the fact that we're having a summit at this level, at this time in history, is a deliverable in itself", said Huntsman, adding that he "wouldn't underplay at all the importance of actually sitting down for the first time in a meeting-summit environment and discussing the issues that really matter most". "We all talk about it a little differently", he said, "but the president has talked about it in his own way".

After the alliance was established in 1949, its first secretary general, Lord Hastings Ismay, summed up its objective concisely: "to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down".

"You can't solve problems if you're not talking about them", Huntsman said.

Jon Huntsman, U.S. ambassador to Russian Federation, said that Mr. Trump wants to improve bilateral relations but does not intend to let Mr. Putin off the hook for aggression in Ukraine and interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He is due to arrive in Helsinki the evening of July 15 for meetings the next morning with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.

Mr. Trump's political opponents in the US will be looking for any sign that the president goes easy on Mr. Putin, which they would say bolster allegations of Trump campaign collusion with Moscow to hack the 2016 presidential election.

The summit also will include a bilateral meeting and a working lunch between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin.

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