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Trump aborts the planned Putin meeting abruptly



The President rejected the refusal of Russia to release Ukrainian warships and sailors who had been confiscated Sunday during a confrontation between the two countries.

"Due to the fact that the ships and sailors were not returned from Russia to Ukraine, I decided that it would be best for all involved, my previously planned meeting (…) with President Vladimir Putin in Argentina I am looking forward to a meaningful summit as soon as this situation is resolved! "Trump tweeted on the way to the summit.

Trump announced that he had canceled the meeting less than an hour after the announcement of reporters, believing it was "a very good time to meet" with Putin.

His tweet came shortly after. He joined Air Force One to leave for the G20 summit in Buenos Aires and for the bilateral meetings he planned in the city.

On board the plane, spokesperson Sarah Sanders told reporters that the president had made his decision in consultation with the secretary, State Mike Pompeo, Chief of Staff John Kelly, and National Security Advisor John Bolton, who called from Brazil into the plane.

Sanders said she knew no phone calls between Trump and Putin.

Earlier Thursday, Trump told reporters that he was "likely" to meet with Putin, even though Russian ships recently shot down and seized three Ukrainian ships near the Crimea.

"I'll probably meet President Putin We did not finish the meeting, I thought about it, but we did not, you would like it, I think it's a good time for a meeting, I get a full report on the subject of what happened with regard to this, "he said in the White House as he prepared for Marine One.

The spokesman for the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, on the way to the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, responded to Trump's refusal and said: "We are actually flying, so far we (Trumps) have only seen tweet and media reports no official information, and if that's the case we'll have extra hours for other useful meetings! "

But removing the agenda from the G20 agenda does not necessarily preclude some kind of E A meeting between the two leaders, who last met officially in Helsinki in July. The summit, officially starting on Friday, offers several opportunities to bring them into a room for meetings and dinners.

It removes for the time being one of the most closely watched elements of the President's short stay in Buenos Aires, where he exercises a series of diplomacy on the sidelines of the Assembly.

His meeting with Putin, which would take more than two hours, would have been one of the president's longest engagements. The White House has not said how it will fill the now empty hours on Saturday morning.

Prior to the scheduled meeting, Trump's aides had foreseen a broad agenda, but were vague in the details. Bolton told reporters earlier this week that security issues, including the situation in the Middle East, would be a focus, but retreated when asked if the tensions in Ukraine would emerge.

Likewise, he did not say whether Russia's attempts to influence the presidential elections in 201

6 would come when the two leaders assembled to meet.

Before the meeting, experts and administrators were worried that the president might emerge from his meeting with Putin without condemning Russia's actions against Ukraine, or even accepting Putin's interpretation of the incident – one in which Russia was not to blame ,

Now the president will not have the opportunity to publicly confront Putin with the incident nor accept his refusals, as he did at their last meeting in Helsinki.

Before the meeting was canceled, former US Ambassador to the Ukraine, Steven Pifer, told CNN it would be a mistake if Trump did not confront Putin over Ukraine, as this would make Putin consider Trump " weak".

Pifer also said Trump could not meet Putin without engaging in the issue of confrontation with Ukraine.

"There is God A discussion on Russia-Ukraine If President Trump wishes to improve the relationship, he must make Putin do something to move the conflict in a more positive direction," Pifer said.

Betsy Klein, Matthew Chance and Frederik Pleitgen of CNN contributed to this report.


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