Two days after President Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian officials made a series of statements about what the two leaders had achieved.
"Important verbal agreements" were reached at the meeting in Helsinki, Russia's ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday, including the preservation of the New Start and INF agreements, major bilateral arms control treaties Future was called into question. Antonov also said that Putin "made specific and interesting proposals to Washington" on how the two countries could work together in Syria.
But officials at the highest levels of the US military have been gathering since Monday to decide what Trump might have agreed On national security issues in Helsinki, there was little information on Wednesday.
In the Pentagon, when press spokespeople were unable to answer media questions about how the summit could affect the military, the lack of information revealed an unpleasant internal gap in administrative communications. Uncertainty over Moscow's proposal for a new agreement or proposal on Syria was particularly striking as General Joseph Votel, head of the US Central Command, is scheduled to convene brief reports on Syria and other matters on Thursday.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was absent on Wednesday's Cabinet meeting with Trump and did not appear in public this week or commented on the summit.
Current and former officials said it was not uncommon that it would take several days for helpers to complete and distribute internal memos documenting high-level discussions. Adding to the delay in the case of the Trump-Russia summit is that the President's longest meeting with Putin, a two-hour sitting, did not include any other officials or transcripts, only interpreters. The meeting with Putin and an extended lunch with helpers was a "tremendous success" and tweeted a promise of "great results "But US Department of State spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the government" judges. , , three takeaways, which she characterized as "modest." They were the establishment of separate working groups of business leaders and foreign policy experts and follow-up meetings between staff from the National Security Council of both countries.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited a number of issues "Syrian humanitarian aid, Iranian nuclear ambition, Israeli security, North Korean denuclearization, Ukraine and the occupation of Crimea, reduction of Russian and US nuclear arsenals, and of course your favorite topic, Russia's interference in our elections.
But while Trump told delegates this week that he and Putin had made "significant progress in solving these issues and more," neither Sanders nor any other Trump US representative has offered down details about these matters Something has been achieved that called them "the beginning of a dialogue with Russia."
Asked abo ut calls by Congress Democrats for the statement by the US interpreter, Sanders said it was a matter for the State Department "There is no precedent for such a request and there was" no formal request "for such an appearance." In general, "she said," we have always tried to work with Congress, and that's all I know about it have, okay? "
Some military officials got used to the Trump government for a year and a half A decision-making process far less structured than under President Barack Obama, schi unimpressed by the uncertainty. Unlike Obama, who oversaw a national security process that was known to be meticulous and often slow, Trump has led a more fluid, less formal advisory system.
Few if, for example, high-level national security meetings were held spring following the government's attack on Syrian military facilities in April, according to officials who have spoken on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. This shift, frustrated by Obama's decision-making, could provide the military with less regular access to its commander-in-chief and fewer opportunities to influence the political process.
Indirect reports confirmed that agreement had not been reached with Putin on Syria, and that Trump, who earlier this year expressed a desire to withdraw all US troops from that country, made it clear to Putin that no American departure was imminent.
The contemplated idea, Antonov said, is a joint US-Russian fight against terrorism in Syria. "My impression was that the American side was listening … with interest," he said. Russia, like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has defined all opponents of the Syrian government as "terrorists" and made similar proposals during the seven-year civil war in Syria.
The leaders also discussed an earlier agreement between Russia and Israel – based on a United Nations agreement of 1974 – to hold all Iranian and proxy forces at least 50 miles from Syria's border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on behalf of the Assad military and Israeli attacks on perceived threats by Iranian proxies not to punish Syria
In the Russian Foreign Ministry, spokeswoman Marina Zakharova said that the implementation of the summit agreements has already begun. "Much of what the President of the Russian Federation has talked about is now being worked through," she said. "Relevant instructions are being executed, and diplomats are starting to work on the results."
Richard Fontaine, a former US official and adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Who now heads the Center for a New American Security, said the summit in Helsinki trumps developing national security management and its treatment Advice from senior advisers such as White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mattis.
"It seems certain that Trump has more confidence in his foreign policy instincts and more with his gut instincts," said Fontaine. "He seems to feel better now, outsmarting her and doing his own thing."
While a gap remained in the summit's US descriptions, Antonov called them "important, inclusive, productive, and constructive."
Putin is expected In a speech on Thursday we talk about the summit.
Antonov said it was "very bitter" to hear the intense criticism of the conference in Helsinki in the United States. He cited Trump's reference to the investigation of Russian election interference as a "witch hunt" and said that Russia is "a hostage of domestic struggle" in the United States.
"When I return from Moscow, I will have the very clear and clear determination to knock on every door of the State Department and the National Security Council in order to understand what we can do together, the agreements, the ideas that the "If I talk to you now, I'm afraid to say something positive about the American president," he said, "if American journalists or politicians read my interview, they will say that Russia will interfere again and help Donald Trump. "
Troianovski reported from Moscow.