They promised a fresh start when they met for the first time, three months ago in London. And the Russian and American leaders hope to build on that at a summit today in the Kremlin.
It is Barack Obama’s first trip to Moscow since taking office. He and Dmitry Medvedev expect to make progress on key issues like arms cuts. But their talks will be complicated by differing philosophies on warhead deployment and by Russian objections to US plans on missile defence. Washington says its proposed anti-missile system in central Europe is directed at Iran. Moscow is not convinced and believes the project is a threat to its security. This view was reiterated by the Russian President in a pre-summit interview with Italian television. After their Moscow meeting, Presidents Medvedev and Obama will travel to Italy for a G8 summit to discuss other global challenges, not least the worst recession in living memory. Today’s talks could see at least one key breakthough. Reports suggest Washington has won Moscow’s permission for US weapons, maybe even its troops, to cross Russian territory and airspace en route to Afghanistan.