US President Donald Trump is all set to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday in Washington, the White House announced, two years after the US leader was accused of leaking classified information to him.
Earlier on Monday, a senior Trump administration official said that President Trump will discuss the state of the bilateral relationship” in a meeting both with Lavrov and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The talks are expected to focus on hotspots in which both powers are heavily involved including Syria, Iran and North Korea.
The US leadership is also expected to speak to Lavrov about breakthrough diplomacy on Ukraine, which is fighting Russian-backed separatists.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin met for the first time with Ukraine’s young new leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, in a summit in Paris that also involved France and Germany.
Lavrov’s visit comes as a cloud still hangs over Trump over his relationship with Russia, which US intelligence concluded interfered in the 2016 election.
On Sunday, the US State Department had confirmed Lavrov’s visit — his first to the US capital since the controversial Oval Office meeting with Trump in 2017.
Last month, President Putin praised Zelensky as “likeable” and “sincere”.
The summit is the first since 2016 in this format and is awaited by some in Ukraine with hope and others with unease and concern that Zelensky may compromise the country’s interests when faced with political heavyweight Putin.
Trump is facing impeachment over accusations that he improperly held up US aid to Ukraine to press Zelensky to dig up dirt on his domestic rival Joe Biden.
Trump has also urged an investigation into a theory — firmly dismissed by US intelligence — that Ukraine rather than Russia interfered in the 2016 vote.
After a May 2017 meeting at the Oval Office, Trump allegedly revealed highly classified details about the threat from the Islamic State group with Lavrov and Russia’s then-ambassador in Washington, Sergey Kislyak.