The meeting of US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin behind closed doors in Helsinki earlier this week increased confusion in international relations, MEP and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet (Reform) said on Friday.
"The comments and proposals now starting to come unilaterally from Russian officials, such as concerning the referendum idea in Eastern Ukraine now, was one of the reasons why Donald Trump's urgent proposal that Trump and Putin hold a long meeting behind closed doors in Helsinki was a bad idea," said the MEP. "And if the US is now in a forced situation and must somehow comment on or refute claims coming from the Russian side regarding what the presidents spoke about, then confusion both in US-Russian relations, between the entire Western world and Russia as well as between the US and its allies will increase even further.
"We have already seen the first embarrassing denials or reversals regarding what Trump said at the public press conference with Putin," Paet continued. "But the conversation between Trump and Putin at the private meeting is even murkier waters, surprises from which we can unfortunately certainly hear more about soon."
A major source of public confusion was Trump's statement during Monday's joint press conference in Helsinki that he did not believe that Russia could have interfered in the most recent US presidential elections. One day later, the US president stated that he had "misspoken" at the press conference and that he had actually meant the opposite.
Media citing anonymous Russian sources on Friday reported that Putin had allegedly proposed to Trump during their meeting that a referendum be held to help resolve the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, and that Trump had asked Putin not to bring up the referendum at the press conference to follow.
Editor: Aili Vahtla