On Thursday, President Trump called Russia a “destabilizing” force, and met with eastern European nations in an effort to cooperate on energy at Russia’s expense.
President Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg, Germany on Friday, the most-anticipated meeting Trump will have at a busy G20 summit. Ahead of that meeting, though, Trump is talking tougher on Russia.
On two separate occasions on Thursday, Trump took verbal shots at Russia, acknowledging America’s frosty relationship with Russia and encouraging eastern European nations to cooperate with the U.S. on energy at Russia’s expense.
On Thursday in Poland, Trump criticized Russia’s “destabilizing behavior,” which could be a reference to Russia’s recent military actions in Ukraine and Syria, its recent cyber-activity in Europe and the U.S., or all of the above.
CBS News had more:
Speaking only about 700 miles from Moscow and just a day before his first encounter with Vladimir Putin, President Trump on Thursday criticized what he called Russia’s “destabilizing behavior,” and said the U.S. remained committed to deterring conflict in Europe.
In the strongest terms he has used to date, Mr. Trump called on Russia to halt its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere. He also called on Moscow to drop its support for “hostile regimes” in Syria and Iran.
“GIVE US A CALL”
Trump also spent part of his Thursday trip to Poland asking eastern European leaders to “give us a call” if they need energy, and made what Bloomberg called “an apparent slight ot Russia.”
From Bloomberg‘s Wojciech Moskwa and Marek Strzelecki:
“If one of you need energy, just give us a call,” Trump told a gathering in Warsaw on Thursday. “The United States will never use energy to coerce your nations, and we cannot allow others to do so,” he said in an apparent slight to Russia, which has sometimes cut off gas shipments to its neighbors over pricing disputes.
Increased reliance on America’s fast-growing gas supplies would help lessen the impact of Russia, the source of about 75 percent of eastern Europe’s fuel, of using energy as a political weapon. Poland, the European Union’s largest eastern member, received its first shipment of American liquefied natural gas last month.
If Trump offered sticks to Russia on Thursday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered carrots. He said Russia and the U.S. may be able to cooperate on establishing no-fly zones, and defeating ISIS, in Syria.
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