Putin jabs at Trump’s trade policies ahead of G20 meeting

Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken a thinly-veiled stab at US President Donald Trump's policy agenda, slamming US sanctions and trade protectionism just a day before the leaders' highly-anticipated meeting in Germany.

The two men are scheduled to officially meet for the first time on Friday in Hamburg on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

German newspaper Handelsblatt published an article Thursday penned by Putin, who sang the G20's praises while criticizing the use of sanctions and protectionist trade policies, both measures associated with the US administration.

"Protectionism is becoming the norm, while unilateral, politically motivated restrictions on trade and investment, as well as technology transfer, are nothing but masked protectionism," Putin wrote.

"We believe that these sanctions are not only doomed to fail, but also run counter to the G20 principles of cooperation in the interests of all countries."

The US imposed sanctions on Russia after Moscow annexed the Crimea Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. The Obama administration placed fresh sanctions on the country when American intelligence agencies said they believed Russia interfered in the 2016 US election.

Trump has repeatedly threatened to pull the United States out of several multilateral trade agreements and in January pulled the US from talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which sought to tear down trade barriers among the 12-nation group.

Putin also took the opportunity to express Russia's support for the Paris climate change agreement. Trump faced global outrage last month after he announced he would pull the United States from the accord, which obliges nations to cut their carbon emissions.

"We view the Paris Agreement of April 2016 as a reliable international legal framework for a lasting climate settlement and intend to do our best to facilitate its implementation," Putin wrote.

He added that Russia had exceeded its commitments under the previous accord, the Kyoto Protocol, and had therefore "compensated" for other countries' emissions.

The United States never signed up to that accord.

The article is a sign that Putin isn't planning to make things easy for Trump in Germany. Both leaders had signaled interest in a rapprochement as US-Russia relations plunged under the Obama administration.

But the two leaders have had an on-again-off-again relationship, doling praise on each other during the US election campaign, then cooling over a spate of issues, including sanctions, Russian meddling in the US election and the Syrian conflict, in which Moscow and Washington back opposing sides.

The leaders' relationship has been mired in controversy since the campaign period and has become further complicated by several investigations into alleged contacts between Trump campaign associates and Moscow. Trump, his campaign and Russian officials have denied any collusion took place between them.

Administration officials told CNN that Trump plans to focus heavily on the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine in his meeting with Putin on Friday. There is little expectation among Trump's national security team that Trump will confront Russia over its attempts to influence the 2016 election.

This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.