File Photo: U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands as they take part in a family photo at the APEC summit in Danang, Vietnam, Nov. 10, 2017. (Xinhua/REUTERS)
WASHINGTON, July 5 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman told the reporters here on Thursday that Washington will continue to hold Moscow "accountable" for its alleged "malign activities" despite the upcoming meeting between the two presidents.
U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will meet on July 16 in Poland's Helsinki to discuss bilateral relations.
"The president believes a better relationship with Russia would be good for both America and Russia, but the ball really is in Russia's court and the president will continue to hold Russia accountable for its malign activity," Huntsman said on a conference call.
Speaking of the possible topics of the upcoming meeting, Huntsman said "some of them might be around strategic stability and arms control. Some of them will inevitably be around Ukraine. And certainly, Syria will enter the picture as a very important area of focus and dialogue. And election meddling."
He underlined issues concerning strategic balance and arms control, such as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, saying that they will be "prominent" on the agenda.
Also in the teleconference, Kay Bailey Hutchison, the U.S. envoy to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), said Russia would be a key topic at the NATO summit in Belgium next week.
Bilateral ties between Russia and the U.S. have been plunged to a new low in consequence of the U.S. escalating sanctions against Russia over Crimea and Syria, the alleged meddling in the U.S. 2016 elections and the so-called "poison attack" of a former Russian spy in Britain. Russia has denied these allegations.