President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As you prepare to meet with President Putin, we urge you to demonstrate a strong defense of American interests and democratic values by standing firm on four key priorities: solidarity with NATO allies, Ukraine’s security and territorial integrity, enforcement of the Magnitsky Act, and the release of political prisoners and other victims of persecution in Russia.
The potential significance of this summit cannot be overemphasized. The tone you set in your first official meeting with President Putin will influence the course of U.S.-Russia relations for years to come.
As you know, President Putin has been one of the primary drivers of the global decline in democracy tracked by Freedom House over the last 12 years. Your National Security Strategy notes that the government of Russia is attempting to “undermine the legitimacy of democracies” and has repeatedly violated state sovereignty. President Putin is determined to “weaken U.S. influence in the world,” “weaken the credibility of America’s commitment to Europe, undermine transatlantic unity, and weaken European institutions and governments.”
President Putin has embraced and supported some of the world’s most repressive regimes, including those of Venezuela, Iran, and Syria. He has adopted a policy of belligerence toward America’s democratic allies in the Baltic states, and, even more concerning, ordered the invasion and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula—the first forcible seizure of a European state’s…