WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump abruptly cancelled a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, about an hour after he told reporters that it would likely take place.
In a tweet sent from Air Force One, Trump pointed to Russia holding sailors captive after their military shot at and seized three Ukrainian boats passing through the Kerch Strait near Crimea on Sunday.
….in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin. I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2018
The incident sparked international criticism of Russia.
While speaking to reporters from the South Lawn Thursday morning, Trump said he still had plans to meet with Putin during this week’s G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“I probably will be meeting with President Putin. We haven’t terminated that meeting. I was thinking about it, but we haven’t,” Trump said.
The president added that he would make a final determination once he was briefed aboard Air Force One.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters mid-flight that the president conferred in-person with Chief of Staff Kelly, Secretary of State Pompeo as well as by phone with National Security Adviser John Bolton from Brazil.
Sanders said that “there was some back and forth” through official channels, but was not aware of a phone call on the decision between Trump and Putin.
Trump and Putin previously met during a joint summit in Helsinki, Finland in July.
The meeting closed with the two leaders holding a press conference, one that resulted in bipartisan criticism against Trump after the U.S. president appeared to question the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
A second meeting was expected to take place in Paris earlier this month, but Trump ultimately postponed a sit-down until the G20.