NEWSWATCH: “No Thaw Likely at Trump-Putin Meeting” – Wall Street Journal/ Nathan Hodge

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Russian officials are cautious about expectations for a fresh start in relations with Washington despite a planned first meeting between … Putin and … Trump next week. … Lavrov expressed hope that ‘pragmatism will prevail.’ But he added that U.S.-Russian relations ‘have become hostage to the internal politics’ inside Washington. * * * Russia continues to chafe under U.S. and Western sanctions imposed after Moscow annexed … Crimea … And the Russia scandal roiling Washington has rolled back hopes in Russia that … Trump would make a sweeping deal …. The Russian economy is returning slowly to economic growth, and economic analysts say businesses have adapted to sanctions. Some sectors of the economy have even thrived: Russia’s agriculture firms have seen growth amid ‘counter-sanctions’ imposed by Russia on European importers …. Putin signed a decree Friday extending those sanctions until the end of 2018.”

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