Trump scraps planned meeting with Putin at G20 summit


Barely an hour after saying he would "probably" meet with Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Argentina, President Trump took to Twitter to call the sitdown off because of Russia's seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels.

But barely an hour later, while aboard Air Force One en route to Argentina, Trump changed his mind again, tweeting that he'd called off the Putin sit-down "based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russian Federation".

All of which means that Trump will have to deal with more than the usual forced grins and awkward handshakes when he confronts his summit counterparts in Buenos Aires.

The Russian president said the Ukrainian ships had entered Russian territorial waters and refused to respond to requests to stop from Russian patrol boats.

Differences over Ukraine, as well as Moscow's role in the civil war in Syria, have been an irritant in U.S.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko asked North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries to send naval ships to the Sea of Azov to aid his country and "provide security" amid tensions with Russian Federation. Russian Federation said Ukraine didn't have permission to pass between Russia's mainland and the Crimean Peninsula.

"First of all, questions related to bilateral relations, we need to think about how to start talking on matters of bilateral relations, on matters of strategic security and disarmament and on regional conflicts", he told journalists in a regular press briefing.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spokeswoman Oana Lungescu responded to Poroshenko's request by saying the military alliance already has a strong presence in the Black Sea region.

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Dmitry Peskov, Russian president's press-secretary, said that Putin will arrive to Buenos Aires as planned and that Russia is still expecting to have the meeting, according TASS news agency.

The cancellation is a major blow to Putin, who has sought to show he's not isolated from the worldwide community despite Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Since then, the United States has investigated Russia's possible interference in the 2016 election that Trump won. Major fighting ended with a 2015 ceasefire but deadly exchanges of fire are still frequent.

Speaking with German newspaper Bild, Mr Poroshenko called on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation for naval support to counter Russia's "aggressive policy".

But Germany's economy minister dismissed the idea that his country's commitment to the pipeline undermined efforts to de-escalate the Ukraine crisis.

Separately, a Reuters correspondent in Crimea on Wednesday observed a Russian navy minesweeper ship, the Vice-Admiral Zakharin, heading for the Sea of Azov, which is used by Ukraine and Russia and is a source of growing tension. He said the Russian delegation was already on its way to the summit.