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Trump cancels meeting with Putin at G20 over Russia-Ukraine standoff

US President Donald Trump and Russia President Vladimir Putin. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Web Team Washington, DC, USA Nov 29, 2018, 10.34 PM (IST)

In the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, US President Trump today cancelled his meeting Russian President Putin in Argentina during the G20 summit to held in Buenos Aires from November 30th.

"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," the US president said in a tweet just before leaving for the summit.

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"I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!" he added.

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Earlier in the day, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko asked NATO members to send naval vessels to the Sea of Azov to back his country in the standoff with Russia. President Putin blamed Ukraine for escalating the crisis. 

President Putin said that border guards "fulfilled their military duty" and protected Russia's border.

"These territorial waters were always ours, even before Crimea joined Russia," Putin said, referring to Moscow's 2014 annexation of the peninsula. 

Poroshenko claimed that Putin wanted "nothing less than to occupy the sea". 

"We cannot accept this aggressive policy of Russia. First it was Crimea, then eastern Ukraine, now he wants the Sea of Azov," the Ukrainian president said.

On Sunday, Russian naval ships had seized three Ukranian vessels during a skirmish in the Sea of Azov, the clash led to condemnation by western powers including NATO which called Russia to return the Ukranian ships.

At least 24 Ukranian sailors were captured by the Russian navy during the clash. Tensions between the two countries have been on fever pitch since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, the latest development sent political temperatures soaring in the region with Ukrainian authorities fearing a larger Russian response in the Sea of Azov.

Although Russia opened the Sea of Azov on Monday but the standoff over the seized ships and the captured sailors continued to keep the region simmering.

The Ukrainian president on Wednesday officially imposed Emergency in areas around the Russian border fearing the Russian military would respond.

Story highlights

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko asked NATO members to send naval vessels to the Sea of Azov to back his country in the standoff with Russia