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Trump abruptly cancels Putin meeting over Russia’s clash with Ukraine

President Donald Trump (The White House/Released)
November 29, 2018

Just hours after it was confirmed by Russia that Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin would meet this weekend at the G20 summit, Trump took to Twitter and announced that he was canceling the meeting.

“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,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning.

“I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved,” he added.

The Kremlin had announced earlier in the day that Trump and Putin would meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit this Saturday in Argentina, after Trump had previously hinted he might cancel the meeting following Russia’s clash with Ukraine at sea over the weekend.

Ukraine said that Russia rammed one of its Navy tugboats, fired on two other Ukrainian Naval gunboats and seized all three after a short chase on Sunday.

This all took place off the coast of Crimea, which Russia invaded and annexed from Ukraine in 2014 against the warnings of international leaders, including then-U.S. President Barack Obama.

The G20, or Group of 20, summit is a forum for governments and central banks from 20 major economies. This year it is meeting in Argentina.

Trump and Putin had last year met in person for the first time at the start of the summit, which was held in Germany.

Russia and Ukraine clashed at sea on Sunday after Russian ships rammed and seized Ukrainian Naval vessels. Russia is also holding 23 Ukrainian sailors.

Ukrainian Parliament voted on Monday to impose martial law, this after tense clashes with Russia in the Black Sea when Russian forces fired on and then seized three Ukrainian Naval vessels off the coast of Russia-controlled Crimea.

Russia claims the Ukrainian vessels had “illegally” entered its waters and were engaging in “illegal” activities. Russia also captured and is holding 23 Ukrainian sailors, some of whom are said to be wounded.

Ukraine’s martial law will last for 30 days, from Nov. 28.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had Monday signed a decree introducing martial law in the country for 60 days, until Jan. 25, 2019. The decree needed to be approved by Ukrainian Parliament in order to be in full effect.