US President Donald Trump scrapped on Thursday a planned meeting at the G20 summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over Moscow's detention of a group of Ukrainian sailors.
“Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin,” he wrote on Twitter.
....in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin. I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2018
“I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!,” Trump added, shortly after taking off for the weekend summit in Buenos Aires.
Russia recently seized three Ukrainian vessels and crews. Russia said Ukraine didn’t have permission to pass between Russia’s mainland and the Crimean Peninsula. Ukraine insisted its vessels abided by maritime laws.
A Kremlin spokesman said Moscow had no official information on Trump’s decision to cancel summit with Putin, reported Ifax. “ We saw tweets and media reports only,” he said.
The Kremlin spokesman said if the summit is indeed cancelled Putin will have a couple of extra hours for useful meeting at G20.
Decision to cancel made during flight
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters President Trump decided to cancel the scheduled meeting with Russian President Putin during his flight to the G20 summit, and said she was not aware of a conversation between the two leaders about the cancellation.
Trump spoke with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House Chief of Staff Kelly on the flight to the Group of 20 industrialized nations summit in Argentina and called National Security Adviser John Bolton, she said.
Sanders also said the US and Russian governments had exchanged phone calls.
No formal meetings with Turkey, S. Korea
In addition, President Trump’s meetings with the leaders of Turkey and South Korea will be “pull asides” at the Group of 20 summit rather than formal bilateral meetings, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.