Kremlin 'regrets' Trump decision to cancel Putin talks

Saturday, 01 Dec, 2018

US President Donald Trump has issued a rare rebuke to Vladimir Putin, abruptly cancelling a planned meeting with the Russian President because of his disapproval of Moscow's treatment of Ukraine.

Moscow and Kiev have traded angry accusations since Russian navy vessels fired on, boarded and captured the three Ukrainian ships off the coast of Crimea.

The White House has not publicly confirmed the meeting and did not immediately respond to CNN's requests for comment. Then, in an interview on Tuesday with the Washington Post, Trump said "maybe he won't have the meeting" after Trump said he was thinking about calling it off because of Ukraine. "That's in the interests not only of our two countries, it's in the interests of the whole world".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would raise the Black Sea issue with Putin at the G-20 summit, which starts in Argentina on November 30.

"Germany is one of our closest allies and we hope that states within North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are now ready to relocate naval ships to the Sea of Azov in order to assist Ukraine and provide security", he said.

Following Sunday's maritime clash in the waters surrounding Crimea, the Putin meeting remained on Mr. Trump's scheduled for the G-20 summit, which opens Friday.

Peskov said the agenda for the meeting scheduled for Saturday between Putin and Trump included strategic security, bilateral relations, disarmament and regional conflicts.

"It is a provocation initiated by the current authorities, and I think by the [Ukrainian] president, in light of the upcoming elections to be held next year", Putin told an audience at an investment forum in Moscow, CNBC reported.

Bolton did not confirm whether the situation in Ukraine would be on the table.

Detention orders were made against 15 of them on Tuesday, including three still in hospital, and nine more on Wednesday. The Kremlin received an email from Cohen seeking help with a Trump Tower project, Peskov told reporters on a conference call in late August, adding that the office never replied to it.

The 24 Ukrainian sailors are now being detained in Crimea and their ships impounded by Russian forces.

Mr Poroshenko had declared martial law in 10 border areas.

In an interview with German newspaper Bild, Poroshenko said he hoped for naval support from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

The president's stated reason for skipping a Putin meeting - the crisis in Ukraine - is a legitimate one.

"We can not accept Russia's aggressive policy".

Western governments have rallied behind Kiev in the dispute, accusing Russian Federation of illegally blocking access to the Sea of Azov and of taking military action without justification.

Ukraine is not a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member, but on Tuesday the alliance condemned Russia's use of force and said it "stands with Ukraine".

"Trump wanted to make an impressive move to make himself heard, taking into account the spread of anti-Russian sentiments among the U.S. elite", he stressed.

According to the expert, Trump had to call off the meeting in view of the domestic political situation in the United States and the pressure he and his administration are facing.

Sunday's incident has been playing out on Russian and Ukrainian television screens, with dramatic footage of Russian ships chasing down a Ukrainian tugboat that was trying to pass through the Kerch Strait from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov.