Mikhail Metzel | TASS via Getty Images

President-elect Vladimir Putin ahead of being sworn-in as President of Russia at St Andrew’s Hall of the Moscow Kremlin.

Since becoming president in January last year, Trump has sought to improve ties with Moscow — even as Washington tightens economic sanctions.

“A repeat of the June G-7 summit fiasco would weaken Trump’s position and tempt Putin to strive to widen the emerging differences between the United States and its European allies,” Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine under President Bill Clinton, said in a blog post published last week.

“In contrast to his tweets, Trump shies away from confrontation in face-to-face meetings. If he ducks or soft-pedals difficult issues such as Ukraine or election interference, Putin will take Trump for a sucker and play him accordingly.”

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