Russian Matryoshka dolls depicting t Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump are seen on sale at flea market in Moscow
© AFP
Russian Matryoshka dolls depicting t Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump are seen on sale at flea market in Moscow
The German foreign minister has joined a number of anxious Western politicians in offering advice to Donald Trump ahead of the US president's summit with Vladimir Putin, warning him against making "unilateral deals" with Russia.

"Unilateral deals at the expense of allies will harm the United States, too. The one who hits his partners risks losing eventually," Heiko Maas told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag in an interview released on Sunday.

However, the German foreign minister did acknowledge that the high-level talks between the US and Russia is a good sign, adding that the meeting can be "a step forward towards" nuclear disarmament.

Maas has recently accused the US leader of putting the entire architecture of European security at risk. On Saturday, he censured Trump, saying that the increased defense spending championed by the president during a recent NATO summit would not make the world any safer. Maas insisted that more weapons do not automatically mean more security, adding that Trump's demands "have nothing to do with serious security policy."

All eyes now are on the much-anticipated summit between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, which is scheduled for Monday in Helsinki on the final leg of Trump's European tour. A number of German politicians have long feared that the US president could take actions that are not in line with NATO.


Comment: What purpose does NATO even serve at this point?


The transatlantic coordinator for Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition, Peter Beyer, said "there are great concerns in the alliance about what agreements Trump and Putin could reach" during the summit.

Christian Lindner, the head of Germany's Free Democrats, echoed Beyer's concerns, saying that he did not trust Trump, and that his actions in the areas of trade and security were not in Washington's long-term interest.

The UK establishment also fears that Trump will undermine NATO by striking a "peace deal" with Putin during the meeting. The politicians worry that the Russian president could persuade Trump to downgrade US military commitments in Europe, thus compromising NATO countries' defense against so-called "Russian aggression."

In the meantime, Alexander Bartosh, a former Russian diplomat and military expert, told RT that the meeting between the two leaders will merely include trying to find a "unifying agenda for the US and Russia because the relations of the two countries affect not only their own wellbeing, but international security as a whole." "None of the sides will be aiming to undermine the integrity of NATO," he added.

Trump has repeatedly called his Russian counterpart a "competitor," suggesting that Putin may become a friend over time. The US president insists that he doesn't believe his counterpart's policies are a threat to the US or Europe.

Moscow has noted that the goal of the meeting is to finally start changing the negative situation in relations between the US and Russia for the better. When asked what the Kremlin thinks about Donald Trump calling Vladimir Putin a 'competitor,' Yury Ushakov, the Russian president's adviser, said that Moscow considers the US president to be a 'partner.'