Trump, Putin trade punches ahead of first encounter Friday

The two presidents, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, are expected to focus mainly on Syria and Ukraine when they meet Friday afternoon for the first time on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg. Both have said they would like to repair ties damaged by those issues, but Donald Trump is weighed down by media allegations of Russian meddling in the US election. Ahead of their meeting, Russia Thursday night  nixed a US Security Council resolution condemning North Korea’s missile tests – although no action was stipulated.

Speaking in Poland on Thursday, Trump called on Russia to stop “destabilizing” Ukraine and other countries, stop supporting such “hostile regimes as those in Syria and Iran” and  join the fight against “common enemies and in defense of civilization itself.” Those remarks were rejected by the Kremlin.

Ahead of the two-day summit, 76 police officers were hurt Thursday in clashes with violent protesters, some of them masked, who hurled bottles, stones and flares. Tens of thousands of police fought back with water cannon and pepper spray.

More mass demonstrations are have been called for Friday, with up to 100,000 protesters expected over the two-day event.

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