Asked in Qingdao about the G-7’s tumultuous meeting Friday and Saturday in Canada, Mr. Putin focused on the rift between Europe and the United States on tariffs, which he said “is more significant than any emotional outbursts.”
“As far as I know, the president of the United States said the U.S. is considering the possibility of regulating the additional supply of automotive equipment in the U.S. market,” he said. “This is a serious matter. This can really hurt the economic interests of so many countries, above all European, of course.”
But, in contrast to America’s allies, the Russian president expressed understanding for Mr. Trump’s decision that the United States would not sign the G-7 summit’s final statement.
Noting that Russia and other members of the Eurasian Economic Union “also have disputes and do not unanimously sign everything at the same time,” he played down the furor over Mr. Trump’s undiplomatic diplomacy: “We can see that there are internal problems there. Well, it happens.”
He also said he agreed with Mr. Trump on the need for a meeting between the leaders of Russia and the United States.
“The president of the United States has repeatedly said that he considers this meeting expedient,” he said, “and I agree that this is indeed the case.”
Mr. Putin said that during his last telephone conversation with the American president, Mr. Trump “expressed his concern about the threat of a new round of the arms race.”