President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin may meet next month in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, a US official said on Tuesday.
The Scandinavian city has emerged as a strong possibility to host the summit, which Trump has pressed aides to organize after he raised the idea during a congratulatory phone call with Putin in March.
Trump is expected to meet Putin at the end of a July trip to Europe, where he’ll attend a NATO summit in Brussels and make a long-delayed visit to the United Kingdom. Neither the White House nor the Kremlin has officially announced a meeting.
Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton is traveling to Moscow this week to help arrange the meeting.
The Austrian capital Vienna had been previously mentioned as a venue for the summit, though the US official suggested that option had now been largely ruled out.
Trump and Putin last greeted each other in person on the sidelines of a leaders’ summit in Vietnam in November. That followed a formal sit-down meeting in Hamburg during last year’s G20 summit.
Trump has sought better relations with Russia, even as US investigations probe Moscow’s attempts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.
“To say there is a single issue that has caused there to not to be a warm relationship between the two countries is a misnomer,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN’s Elise Labott on Sunday.
“Whether it’s the battlefield in Syria, the situation in Ukraine, the Russians’ active measures, I am sure there are many topics that President Trump and President Putin will discuss and each of them is important to trying to put the relationship back in place with a common set of understandings,” he said.