The Kremlin on Tuesday confirmed that a high level meaning between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump would indeed take place on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg Germany this Friday.
While Russian officials provided little details about the agenda for the first meeting between the leaders of the two world powers, there was rife speculation that Putin and trump would discuss the crisis in Syria, how to combat global terrorism, and the situation in the Ukraine.
Trump is also facing domestic pressure to raise the issue of alleged Russian cyber-hacking in the US electoral system and what some Democrats have said was the planting of fake news on social media to improve his chances of election.
Russia has strongly denied any involvement in the cyber-meddling controversy. Putin has said the “groundless” accusations of Russian involvement in the US electoral election are designed to prevent a thaw in bilateral relations.
Official bilateral summit
In the meantime, both the Kremlin and the White House confirmed that the meeting would be a full fledged bilateral summit rather than and informal meet and greet as had been previously announced.
According to the TASS Russian Press Agency Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said: “It is planned as a fully-fledged, ‘seated’ meeting.”
With North Korea’s surprise missile launch on Tuesday in which Pyongyang claimed that it had successfully tested and intercontinental ballistic missile it is likely that the two presidents will discuss security in the Asia Pacific.
A number of Russian Media pundits have accused Washington of hyping up the North Korean missile crisis from the first day that Donald Trump Whitehouse as a pretext to increase military presence in the Asia Pacific region.
The Pentagon has already deployed advanced anti missile systems known as THAAD to South Korea.
Both China and Russia have expressed grave concerns about the deployment of the advanced missile system and South Korea and said that it would spark and arms race in the region.
Collision course: Syria?
However, it is the Syrian crisis that is likely to prove to be the most contentious point discussed between the two leaders as tensions have risen dramatically in the past few weeks with both sides accusing the other of adding fuel to the fire.
On June 19, Moscow halted its deescalation cooperation – known as the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria – with the US military after US-led coalition forces shot down a Syrian SU-22 as it was carrying out a mission over the Islamic state stronghold of Raqqa.
According to Russian media reports, Moscow condemned the shoot-down as a dangerous violation of Syria’s sovereignty.
The Russian military says the US did not use the the deescalation cooperation utility even though Russian Air Force jets were in the vicinity at the time.
The Pentagon said it shot down the Syrian warcraft because it was targeting the Syrian Democratic Forces militia, which is backed by Washington and its allies in the region.
Last week, Russian Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu said that US actions – which he called provocative – in Syria served only to embolden terrorist activity in the region.