Report: Iran’s presence in Syria dominated Helsinki summit

by WorldTribune Staff, August 17, 2018

During their summit last month in Helsinki, U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed that Iran should withdraw from the Syrian conflict, a report said.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

Iran’s role in Syria was the dominant topic in the meeting between Trump and Putin, a U.S. administration official said, according to an Aug. 16 report by Bloomberg.

Russian leadership said Iran’s withdrawal from Syria would be difficult, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Trump briefed his chief of staff, John Kelly, national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman for 15 minutes immediately after meeting one-on-one with Putin, the official added.

Trump and Putin also discussed the campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS), disputes over the Golan Heights, and the humanitarian situation in Syria, the official said.

Trump also stressed during the one-on-one with Putin that he expected Russian meddling to stop in the 2018 election, according to the official.

Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election was spearheaded by a team of GRU military intelligence officers specializing in covert influence operations who were working out of an office building on 22 Kirova Street in Moscow called “The Tower,” Bill Gertz reported for the Washington Free Beacon on Aug. 17.

“Beginning in April 2016, the GRU team known as Unit 74455 and headed by Col. Aleksandr V. Osadchuk was the key player in the major Russian influence operation aimed at swaying the 2016 presidential election through covertly disseminating hacked documents on the Internet,” the report said.

Osadchuk was the highest-ranking GRU officer among the 12 Russians charged with conspiracy and other crimes in the U.S. federal grand jury indictment filed on July 13.

“Unit 74455 assisted in the release of stolen documents through the DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 personas, the promotion of those releases, and the publication of anti-Clinton content on social media accounts operated by the GRU,” the indictment said.


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