The Kremlin has said Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump may not issue a joint statement following what is set to be a “difficult” summit in Helsinki on Monday, suggesting that a conflict over Russian interference in the US election was tripping up the talks before they even began.

The newspaper Kommersant reported last week that Moscow had passed a draft statement to Washington, where officials demanded that it include a guarantee that Russian intelligence agencies’ meddling in the 2016 election would not be repeated.

On Friday, Mr Putin’s spokesman walked back expectations of a statement, saying a “joint communique is not a mandatory attribute of such meetings”.

The day before, he had admitted…

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