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President Trump tweeted Thursday from Air Force One that he decided to cancel his scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Argentina this weekend as a result of Russia's aggression in Ukraine.

"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!"

The backdrop: Trump's decision comes just hours after his former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2017 about the length and scope of his work on plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Before taking off for Argentina, Trump told reporters he would be receiving a "full briefing" on Russia's latest act of aggression off of Crimea.

  • A Russian Coast Guard vessel Sunday slammed into a Ukrainian navy tugboat escorting two small warships through the Kerch Strait, which separates occupied Crimea from Russia. Russia then seized the three Ukrainian vessels and took 24 sailors prisoner.
  • That opened a new front in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which has been raging for four years. "In the light of day, Moscow demonstrated that it will attack Ukraine with its conventional forces," says John Herbst, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine now at the Atlantic Council.
  • Ukraine has declared martial law for 30 days in areas under threat from Russia, and President Petro Poroshenko has been calling for a show of strength and solidarity from NATO, the U.S. and European allies like Germany. In response to Trump's announcement, Poroshenko tweeted "this is how great leaders act!"

Go deeper: Russia gives up on Trump

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
15 mins ago - Science

A new NASA astronaut corps for the next era in space

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

NASA's next crewed missions to the Moon will need a larger, differently-trained and multi-skilled astronaut corps to deliver on the agency's ambitions.

Why it matters: NASA has plans to fly astronauts to the surface of the Moon in 2025 and ultimately establish a long-term presence there. That goal requires a robust corps with new, specialized training in what it takes to live and work on the Moon — and NASA needs to start planning now.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.

Distrust in political, media and business leaders sweeps the globe

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Trust in government is collapsing, especially in democracies, according to a new global survey.

Why it matters: People also don't think media or business leaders are telling them the truth, and this suspicion of multiple societal institutions is pushing people into smaller, more insular circles of trust.