Trump cancels meeting with Putin as he heads to G20 summit

Trump cancels meeting with Putin as he heads to G20 summit

Donald Trump has abruptly cancelled a meeting with Vladimir Putin in a show of disapproval at Russia's treatment of Ukraine. It also came shortly after word of Michael Cohen's plea deal, in which he admitted to lying about a Trump organization development project in Moscow - a topic that surely would have prompted intrusive questions at the G-20.

U.S. President Donald Trump flew to Argentina on Thursday to attend the G-20 summit-a forum born of American weakness-at what is perhaps the weakest moment of his presidency. Kiev is hoping Trump will push Putin on the confrontation, which began Sunday when Russian Federation fired on Ukrainian ships trying to enter the Kerch Strait, a crucial waterway separating the Black and Azov seas.

This week, I offer a special briefing in advance of Trump's participation at the G20 summit in Argentina.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has declared martial law in border regions and put the armed forces on high alert, warning of a potential "full-scale war" and "ground attack" from Russian Federation.

The White House said Trump and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the Ukraine-Russia incident by telephone and "the two leaders expressed deep concern about the incident in the Kerch Strait and the continued detainment of Ukraine's vessels and crew members".

The G-20 is a recent and somewhat odd institution-probably the first major global institution to be created without a dominant USA role as parent or midwife.

Trump, who was to arrive to arrive in Buenos Aires tonight for two days of diplomacy, threw the meeting into doubt earlier in the week when he told The Washington Post that he might cancel over the conflict with Ukraine.

On Sunday, Russia seized two Ukraine gunboats and 1 tugboat sailing toward the Kerch Strait, the only entrance to the Sea of Azov, after failing to respond to lawful demands to stop, according to the Federal Security Service (FSB).

"We regret the decision of the USA administration to cancel the scheduled meeting of the two presidents in Buenos Aires", Peskov said, according to TASS.

Former US diplomat Jim Jatras says the cancellation is "a bad development".

In tweets sent from aboard Air Force One, Trump said he was doing so because Russia had not returned the Ukrainian boats and sailors it seized after accusing them of illegally entering Russian waters near Crimea.

Western governments have rallied behind Kiev, accusing Russian Federation of illegally blocking access to the Sea of Azov, used by both countries, and of using force without justification. Trump also is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping over dinner, in what may be a pivotal session to determining if and how the ongoing trade dispute between their countries could be resolved.

The G20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and the European Union.

Minutes after telling reporters at the White House that the meeting was still on, Trump made the announcement via Twitter while traveling to the Group of Twenty summit in Argentina.

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