Amid the shifting sands of the Trump administrations foreign policy positions, Reuters has reported that President Trump and Russian President Putin are scheduled to hold their second publicized phone conversation in a few hours time.
The talk is supposed to take place at around 12:30 p.m. Washington time, according Putin’s spokesman Dimitri Peskov.
The report also quoted a “senior Trump administration official” as saying that one topic on the agenda would be the situation in Syria.
The US’ conducted a unilateral strike on a Syrian airbase last month over an alleged sarin gas atrocity, supposedly ordered by Syrian President Assad.
That Trump is still making efforts to negotiate with Russia over Syria may be an indicator that he still believes Russian support is crucial to achieving a desirable outcome in the war (whatever that may be, for Trump or the establishment) as well as the fight against ISIS.
Their conversation is also likely to touch on North Korea, where tension with Washington has been escalating over North Korean missile tests and US military and naval exercises in the region.
Russia has a small 17 km border with North Korea and Moscow historically backed the Kim regime, though China is North Korea’s primary benefactor today.
The ongoing low-level conflict in Ukraine’s Donbass region may also be discussed, where Kiev has consistently failed to implement the obligations it agreed to under the Minsk peace plans – though Russia is usually the one blamed (though Moscow has no obligations under the agreements) by western governments and media.
As with any phone call between the world’s two largest nuclear powers, the outcome of the discussion will be anticipated with no small degree of interest by the press.