Demonstrators gather in capital Helsinki's Senate Square ahead of US President Donald Trump's arrival in the country for his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, Trump says he is going into the meeting with "low expectations".

A message is displayed on a video wall at the Helsinki Music Centre, ahead of meeting between the US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
A message is displayed on a video wall at the Helsinki Music Centre, ahead of meeting between the US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. (Reuters)

Thousands of people gathered in Helsinki on Sunday to protest against the upcoming meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Finnish capital.

The peaceful and non-partisan protest was organised by activists and a network of civil society organisations, including Amnesty International.

Anti-Trump protesters gathered in Helsinki's Senate Square and plan to march through the Finnish capital and end their demonstration at the Square.

Trump departs Scotland on Sunday and will meet Putin on Monday.

People attend 'Helsinki Calling' protest ahead of meeting between Trump and Putin in Helsinki.
People attend 'Helsinki Calling' protest ahead of meeting between Trump and Putin in Helsinki. (Reuters)

Low expectations for summit

Meanwhile, Trump said "nothing bad ... maybe some good" will come out of his summit with Putin.

Trump said in a television interview that he's going into the meeting with "low expectations. I'm not going with high expectations."

The president also told CBS News that he "hadn't thought" about asking Putin to extradite the dozen Russian military intelligence officers indicted this past week in Washington on charges related to the hacking of Democratic targets in the 2016 US election, but said that "certainly I'll be asking about it."

The United States has no extradition treaty with Moscow and can't compel Russia to hand over citizens, and a provision in Russia's constitution prohibits extraditing its citizens to foreign countries.

Trump has blamed the Democratic National Committee for "allowing themselves to be hacked."

The president taped the interview on Saturday in Scotland, a day before he was set to leave for Helsinki for the summit. CBS released excerpts on Sunday.

Trump said he believes such get-togethers are beneficial. He cited his historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in June as "a good thing" and said "having meetings with Russia, China, North Korea, I believe in it."

The most famous summit associated with the Finnish capital is the 1975 meeting among the Western and Soviet-bloc leaders where they signed the Helsinki Final Act – an agreement signed by 35 nations, including the nations of Europe, then Soviet Union, Canada and the United States.

The peaceful and non-partisan protest was organised by activists and a network of civil society organisations, including Amnesty International.
The peaceful and non-partisan protest was organised by activists and a network of civil society organisations, including Amnesty International. (Reuters)

Germany warns Trump

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Sunday warned Trump against making any unilateral deals with Russia that come with a cost for the US' Western allies.

Trump, this week accused Germany of being a "captive" of Russia due to its energy reliance, before a NATO summit where he pressed allies to more than double defence spending. 

Trump also said the meeting with Putin may be the easiest on his Europe trip.

Maas welcomed the meeting, at which the US president has said he will raise the issue of nuclear weapons reduction.

"We have always said that we need dialogue with Russia," Maas told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

But Maas added: "He who offends his partners, risks losing in the end. Unilateral deals at the expense of one's own partners also harm the US in the end."

Source: TRTWorld and agencies