International Media Reacts to Trump-Putin Summit

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive to waiting media during a joint press conference after their summit on July 16, 2018 in Helsinki, Finland. (Getty)

Majalla - London

Newspapers around the world were united in their assessment of which world leader came out on top as they ran different photographs of the same scene on their front pages on Tuesday morning -- US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin standing side-by-side at a news conference following their two-hour meeting in Helsinki.

In the US the morning after, the New York Post went with a headline of "See No Evil" with "Prez gives big Bear hug to wicked BFF Vlad, jabs US intel," at the top of the page.

The New York Times devoted much of its front page to the story leading with the headline "Trump, with Putin, attacks 2016 intelligence" above a photograph of the two leaders shaking hands.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, declared the news conference "a personal and national embarrassment," asserting that Trump had "projected weakness."

While Trump’s comments seemed to leave most U.S. media outlets—even conservative-leaning ones like Fox New—agog, the rest of the world was also watching.

The morning after in the UK, the Daily Mirror tabloid newspaper ran coverage of the summit on its front page, labeling Trump "Putin's poodle" and quoting former CIA Director and career intelligence officer John Brennan who described the US President's performance as "nothing short of treasonous."

The Guardian in London highlighted the backlash against Trump’s “treason”.

The Financial Times focused on Trump’s defense of Putin.

In Finland, which played host to the summit, newspaper Kauppalehti used a soccer analogy in its headline: "Trump 0-1 Putin," along with a photo of Trump holding a soccer ball given to him by the Russian leader. The summit happened a day after the World Cup -- hosted by Russia -- came to an end.

In France, Le Monde topped its front page by calling Trump Putin’s best ally.

Publico in Portugal said Putin gave Trump what he wanted, and Trump gave him much more in return.

The biggest selling Swedish-language newspaper in Finland, Hufvudstadsbladet, carried a picture of a smiling Putin next to Trump with the headline: “Trump was my favourite”.


Russia’s political and media establishment heralded the highly anticipated summit between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in Helsinki as a victory for Russia in breaking down Western resolve to treat Russia as a pariah and a heartening step forward, with the Kremlin leader as the more prominent figure.

“The West’s attempts to isolate Russia failed,” read the headline on a report on Monday’s summit meeting in state-run newspaper Rossiisskaya Gazeta.

The front page of a major paper in Helsinki, Kaupallehti, ran the headline “Trump 0 – Putin 1”

The reactions were largely in line with what the Russian media said in the hours before the meeting. Russia's largely Kremlin-friendly TV networks, websites and newspapers portrayed Trump as a political maverick who is being unfairly targeted by his own compatriots.

There was a recognition that the summit did not produce any breakthroughs on issues such as Syria, Ukraine or arms control. The Kremlin, in the run-up to the summit, had played down expectations of major progress.

Instead, the focus was on the symbolism of the leader of the world’s biggest superpower sitting down one-on-one with Putin after four years of international isolation triggered by Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

“It’s funny to recall the nonsense from Obama et al about Russia being a weak ‘regional power’,” Alexey Pushkov, a member of the upper house of the Russian parliament, referring to former U.S. President Barack Obama.

“The attention of the whole world is focused today on Helsinki and it’s crystal clear to everyone: the fate of the world is being decided between Russia and the United States, the leaders of the two major powers of our planet are meeting,” Pushkov said in a Twitter post on Monday.

Asked by reporters in Helsinki how the talks had gone, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: “Magnificent... Better than super.”

After their joint news conference in Helsinki, Russia media also took some swipes at U.S. journalists for focusing on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election that brought Trump to power.

"To me, it's the only question that interests the American press," reporter Yegor Kolyvanov said on NTV, a Kremlin-controlled national TV channel.

"Putin assured the entire world that he did not interfere," declared Olga Skabeyeva on state channel Rossiya-1.

The channel's report gave clear precedence to Putin, running lengthy excerpts of his comments, with fewer, shorter soundbites from Trump.

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