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‘We don’t trust Putin. We never will’: Nikki Haley distances herself from Trump on Russia

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Russia Nikki Haley UN
US
ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and Russian ambassador to the UN
Vassily Nebenzia.

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  • Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations,
    made clear the US’s firm position against Russia, but admitted
    communication between the two countries “are things that have
    to happen.”
  • “We don’t trust Russia, we don’t trust Putin, we never
    will,” Haley said. “They’re never going to be our friend.
    That’s just a fact.”
  • Haley’s pointed remarks come one week after Trump held
    a controversial joint press conference with Putin at the summit
    in Helsinki, Finland.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, made clear
the US’s firm position against Russia but admitted diplomatic
communication between the two world powers “are things that have
to happen.”

“We don’t trust Russia, we don’t trust Putin, we never will,”
Haley told the Christian Broadcasting Network
on Monday. “They’re never going to be our friend. That’s just a
fact.”

“What I do think is, whether it’s the president sitting down with
[North Korean leader] Kim or whether the president sits down with
[Russia President Vladimir] Putin, those are things that have to
happen,” Haley added. “You can’t get to the end of the other side
if you don’t have those conversations.”

Haley described President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and
“face-to-face” meetings with Chinese and Russian leaders —
countries typically viewed as the US’s economic and military
adversaries — as hallmarks of his negotiation tactic.

“He’s done it with other leaders,” Haley said. “He did it with
President Xi of China and that’s just his way. He feels like he
can get more out of them if he goes one-on-one like that. It’s
his style. It’s the way he does it.”

Haley has been a staunch critic of the Kremlin throughout the
Trump presidency. In May, she described Russia’s 2014
annexation of Crimea as “a textbook example of [a] direct
violation,” and unequivocally held it responsible for the
attempted assassination of a
former Russia spy.

Haley’s pointed remarks on Monday come one week after Trump held
a controversial joint press conference with Putin at the summit
in Helsinki, Finland. During the press conference, Trump cast
doubt on the US intelligence assessment that concluded Russia
meddled in the 2016 US presidential election and appeared to side
with Putin’s denial.

After sparking bipartisan outrage, Trump walked back his
remarks
 the very next day and claimed he misspoke.
Shortly after returning to the US, he embarked on a week-long
media blitz and voiced his stance against Russia’s exploits.

“I let him [Putin] know we can’t have this, we’re not going to
have it, and that’s the way it’s going to be,” Trump said to
CBS News on Wednesday.

“If that doesn’t work out, I’ll be the worst enemy he’s ever
had,” Trump said, referring to Putin, in another interview with
CNBC Thursday. “The worst he’s ever had.”

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