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Trump cancels Putin meeting at G20 citing Ukraine conflict

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!"

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