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Russia: Trump-Putin summit in US now ‘out of the question’

President Donald J. Trump and President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation hold a working lunch | July 16, 2018 (Shealah Craighead/White House)
December 04, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called off the possibility of visiting the United States any time soon for a summit with President Donald Trump.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov this week said, “Now it is out of (the) question,” according to Russian state news agency Tass.

Peskov added that it’s not yet clear when the two leaders could meet again. Previous plans were made at the summit in Helsinki, Finland, over the summer. However, Russia’s recent clash with Ukraine at sea has created an even more tense situation.

“Back then, this possibility was looked at but now it is out of question. No one says a word about it because now general prospects for their next meeting are unclear,” he said. “Critical mass of dialogue is needed for that, but now it is lacking.”

“De facto, the easiest option is to meet on the sidelines of international multilateral forums,” he said. “The next such event will be held in Osaka. It will be the next Group of Twenty summit, in six months. And it is an untenable pause both for our bilateral relations and for international security and stability.”

In July, Trump had extended the invitation to Putin to visit the White House, a possibility that Putin was reportedly open to at the time, USA Today had reported.

Russia’s envoy to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, said at the time that “Russia was always open to such proposals,” and added, “We are ready for discussions on this subject.”

The squashed plans come in the days following Trump’s last-minute cancelation of a meeting with Putin that the two leaders previously scheduled and confirmed. The meeting was to take place on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina this past Saturday.

On Thursday, Russia confirmed the meeting, with Peskov saying the White House had issued a confirmation that Trump would attend the meeting days later.

The meeting was intended to consist of “a brief conversation between the presidents, as we expect, and then negotiations, which can last about an hour,” according to Peskov.

However, Trump had indicated days earlier that he could potentially cancel the meeting after Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine on Nov. 24. He did just that – hours after Russia claimed the meeting was confirmed.

“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 last week.

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

However, with Russia placing blame on Ukraine for the conflict, in which Russia rammed Ukrainian boats and seized three of them along with 23 sailors, it’s not clear when a resolution is possible for such a clash.

Despite their canceled meeting, Trump did approach Putin at the G20 summit, where the two had a brief chat lasting some 15 minutes. There, Trump mentioned the Kerch Strait conflict, but the specifics of that discussion were not revealed.