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Putin says he and Trump briefly discussed Ukraine naval confrontation

Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in a meeting of leaders of the BRICS member countries held on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina, Nov. 30, 2018. (en.Kremlin.ru/Released)
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This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he and U.S. President Donald Trump briefly discussed the recent naval confrontation in the Black Sea between Ukrainian and Russian naval ships.

Putin gave few details of the conversation, which happened December 1 on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Argentina.

“We spoke in passing. I replied to his questions about the incident in the Black Sea,” Putin was quoted as saying.

There was no immediate comment from the White House about the conversation.

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On the eve of the summit, Trump announced that he would not hold a formal one-on-one meeting with Putin, citing last week’s clash in the Kerch Strait, in which Russia detained three Ukrainian ships and 24 sailors.

The November 25 incident was the first direct military confrontation between the two countries since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

Speaking to reporters, Putin lamented the lack of a formal meeting.

“It is unfortunate that we can’t hold a full-format meeting,” Putin was quoted as saying. “I think it is very much needed, in connection with issues of strategic stability, especially after [Trump] announced that the United States plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.”

Trump announced last month that he was withdrawing the United States from the 31-year-old treaty, which eliminated an entire class of missiles and is considered a cornerstone of strategic stability between Moscow and Washington.

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