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.
“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. I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!” he tweeted, apparently from aboard Air Force One.
Speaking to reporters as he left the White House, he said the meeting was still on, but that he had to read “a couple of reports” about the seizure of the three ships and capture of their crews, a number of whom were injured in the incident.
“I probably will be meeting with President Putin. We haven’t terminated that had meeting. I was thinking about it, but we haven’t. They’d like to have it. I think its a very good time to have the meeting,” Trump said.
“I’m getting a full report on the plane as to what happened with respect to that and that will determine what I will say” to the Russian strongman.
“I have a couple of reports. We’re getting a finalized report. We’re getting a finalized report on the plane.”
Relations between Washington and Moscow became the most strained since the end of the Cold War during the administration of President Obama who imposed sanctions for Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Trump also said on Thursday he would have been willing to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Argentina but there was no time in his schedule.
Trump has been under pressure from Congress to punish the crown prince over his suspected involvement in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.