HELSINKI - Donald Trump has said ties with Russia have "NEVER been worse" and blamed US politicians, ahead of his first-ever summit with counterpart Vladimir Putin.
In a tweet the US president denounced his predecessor's "stupidity" and the "rigged" inquiry into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The summit is being held in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, later on Monday.
Some US politicians had called for it to be cancelled after 12 Russians were changed with hacking on Friday.
The defendants - all Russian intelligence officers - are accused of launching cyber-attacks on the 2016 presidential campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Mr Trump has said he will raise the issue in the Helsinki meeting, in which the two leaders will be joined only by their interpreters.
The summit comes after a tumultuous European tour in which Mr Trump criticised allies of the US over trade and military spending.
In his tweet, Mr Trump put the blame for the deterioration of relations with Russia squarely on US domestic forces.
Many in the West have criticised Moscow for what they regard as its destabilising activities in Ukraine. The US, among others, has imposed sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Tensions are also high as a result of accusations of Russian interference in the 2016 election in the US. The allegations are being investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Mr Trump has consistently denounced the inquiry as a "witch hunt".
The 12 Russians were indicted on Friday as part of Mr Mueller's investigation.
They are accused of using keystroke-reading software to spy on the chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and hack into the party's computers.
Protesters in Finland have been urging Mr Trump to focus on human rights ahead of his visit.
Top Democrats including party chairman Tom Perez have urged Mr Trump to cancel the talks, saying Mr Putin was "not a friend of the United States".
On the Republican side, Senator John McCain said the summit "should not move forward" unless the president "is prepared to hold Putin accountable".
Russia denies the hacking allegations, and says it is looking forward to the talks as a vehicle for improving relations.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton has said that both sides have agreed the meeting will have no set agenda.
But he said he found it "hard to believe" Mr Putin did not know about the alleged election hacking and the subject would be mentioned.
"That's what one of the purposes of this meeting is, so the president can see eye to eye with President Putin and ask him about it," he told ABC News.(FA)