Vladimir Putin says he regrets US ties are ‘not on top form’ after meeting with John Bolton to plan Trump summit

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, has expressed hope that Wednesday’s visit to Moscow by US leader Donald Trump’s national security advisor will help improve bilateral ties amid tensions between Moscow and the West.

Hardliner John Bolton is in Moscow to lay the groundwork for a summit between the Kremlin chief and President Trump that may take place next month in Europe.

"Your visit to Moscow gives us hope that we can at least take the first step to reviving full-blown ties between our states," Mr Putin told Mr Bolton at the start of the Kremlin meeting after the two smiled and shook hand for the cameras.

"We never sought confrontation," Mr Putin said in televised remarks, adding he regretted that the Russia-US ties were not "on top form."

Mr Bolton said it was important to keep talking and complimented Mr Putin on his handling of the football World Cup, currently taking place in Russia.

"Even in earlier days when our countries had differences our leaders and their advisors met and I think that was good for both countries, good for stability in the world and President Trump feels very strongly on that subject," he said.

Donald Trump gives a press briefing with John Bolton and Larry Kudlow at the G7 summit in the Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec, CanadaCredit:

"So again we are most appreciative of your courtesy and graciousness here and I look forward to learning how you handle the World Cup so successfully, among other things."

The United States will co-host the 2026 World Cup with Mexico and Canada.

Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier in the day the meeting would be used to discuss "the sad state" of bilateral relations as well as top international issues.

Vladimir Putin meets with John Bolton in MoscowCredit:

Mr Trump said this month that Russia should be re-admitted to the G7 group of industrialised democracies, from which it was suspended for its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

A former US ambassador to the UN, Mr Bolton is known for his hawkish stances and has repeatedly called for tough sanctions against Russia.

"We negotiate with Russia at our peril," he wrote in a column for the Daily Telegraph in 2017.

Earlier Wednesday Mr Bolton met behind closed doors with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the first deputy head of Russia’s security council, Yury Averyanov.

Trump-Putin summit could coincide with World Cup final

There has been speculation that a meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Putin that could coincide with the World Cup final.

The timing of the summit has raised questions about whether Mr Trump, who bragged this month about bringing the 2026 World Cup to North America, could defy expectations and visit the Russian capital for the final of the 2018 tournament.

Benjamin Netanyahu is also considering coming to the game, and Mahmoud Abbas has already accepted an invitation from Mr Putin to attend, raising the possibility of an Israeli-Palestinian summit at the international sporting event.

Any summit is expected to happen when Mr Trump travels to Europe in July. He will attend a Nato summit in Brussels on July 11-12, where discussions may be strained by his decision to impose tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union, all major trade and security partners of the United States.

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Then on July 13 he will begin his long-delayed visit to the UK and stay until at least the next day, holding talks with Theresa May and meeting the Queen at Windsor Castle.

The World Cup final is on July 15 at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, the main venue of the 1980 Olympic Games, which the United States boycotted.

The timing of the championship match after Mr Trump’s UK visit has led to rumours that he could meet with Mr Putin on that day and perhaps even come to Moscow for the game.

The US president has been basking in football-related goodwill after Fifa awarded the 2026 World Cup to a combined bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada on June 13.

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