U.S. President Donald Trump says he will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at the appropriate time.
Trump told the Voice Of America (VOA) on November 30 that due to Russia’s recent seizure of Ukrainian vessels, it wouldn’t be right for him to meet Putin at the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Argentina.
“Well, I just said that, you know, frankly, in light of what happened with Ukraine with the ships and the sailors, it just wouldn’t be the right time, but I will meet with him,” Trump said in an interview in Buenos Aires, where he is attending the G20 summit.
“I think we have a very good relationship, and I think we’re going to have a very good relationship with Russia, and China, and everyone else. I mean, I think it’s important. So, I’ll meet with him at the appropriate time,” he said.
On November 25, Russian forces fired on three Ukrainian ships and seized 24 sailors in the Black Sea off the coast of Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
Russia said Ukraine didn’t have permission to pass between Russia’s mainland and the Crimean Peninsula. Ukraine insisted its vessels abided by maritime laws.
Western leaders have criticized Russia and called for the release of the captured sailors.
When asked about Putin’s motives in the confrontation with Ukraine, Trump said he could not read the mind of the Russian president.
But he added that “we can’t allow certain things to happen, you know, it happened, and I just can’t be a part of it.”
Trump had announced that he was cancelling his meeting with Putin in a November 29 tweet.
The Kremlin said on November 30 it regretted Trump’s decision to cancel the meeting with Putin.
“This means that discussion of important issues on the international and bilateral agenda will be postponed indefinitely,” Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told Russian state media.
Putin, he said, “is ready to have contacts with his American counterpart.”
With reporting by VOA