Donald Trump announced that he has canceled his private meeting with Vladimir Putin during the G-20 Summit, but Russia apparently has other plans.
Not long after Trump said he would not be meeting Putin during the upcoming summit of world leaders in Argentina, Russia responded by saying it “rejects” Trump’s decision and is still ready for contact with Trump, Raw Story reported in citing a story published in the Jerusalem Post.
Trump abruptly canceled the meeting, which had been planned for Saturday during the summit of the world’s 20 largest nations. Trump said he would not meet with Russia after the country attacked Ukrainian Navy ships and refused to release sailors captured during the confrontation.
“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!” Trump tweeted while he was traveling to Buenos Aires for the summit.
But as CNN noted, critics wondered if Trump’s decision to abruptly cancel the meeting had anything to do with the surprise guilty plea for his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who admitted that he lied to Congress about Trump’s attempts to land a major development project in Moscow. Both Cohen and Trump had claimed that the negotiations ended in early 2016, before the Iowa caucuses, but Cohen admitted in his guilty plea that they continued the negotiations throughout the presidential campaign.
Russia 'rejects’ Trump plan to cancel Argentina meeting and will summon president to meet Putin: reporthttps://t.co/NVdLqPAuBD
— Raw Story (@RawStory) November 30, 2018
Earlier in the day, just before Cohen’s guilty plea was announced, Trump had told reporters that he would “probably” still meet with Vladimir Putin despite Russia’ continued aggression toward Ukraine.
“We haven’t terminated that meeting. I was thinking about it, but we haven’t,” Trump said. “They’d like to have it. I think it’s a very good time to have a meeting. I’m getting a full report on the plane as to what happened with respect to that.”
Trump had faced criticism for his past meetings with Putin, including a private meeting in Helsinki after which Trump appeared to side with Vladimir Putin’s denial that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. The stance put Trump at odds with his own intelligence agencies, who say that Russia indeed meddled in the election with the goal of helping to elect Trump.
It was not clear exactly how Russia might still try to arrange the meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit.