Donald Trump cancels meeting with Vladimir Putin over Ukraine crisis

President Donald Trump has cancelled his planned meeting with Vladimir Putin less than an hour after insisting he would hold talks with the Russian president.

It comes after Mr Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, claimed in court on Thursday that the president’s business ties with Russia continued for months after he had previously claimed.

Mr Trump denied the claims as he spoke to reporters outside the White House before boarding a plane to attend the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

Shortly afterwards Mr Trump tweeted from on board Air Force One that he was cancelling the talks due to talk place this weekend. Mr Trump said the decision was taken because Russia had not returned Ukrainian ships and sailors captured during a recent naval clash. 

"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!" Mr Trump tweeted. 

Mr Trump’s tweet was a sudden turnaround. Roughly an hour earlier, he had told reporters he would probably meet with Mr Putin at the summit and said it was "a very good time to have the meeting."

The Kremlin appeared to be caught short by the news. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Mr Putin, said he had only learnt about the cancellation through Mr Trump’s tweets.

Mr Peskov said the Russian delegation was already on its way to the G-20 summit in Argentina and had received no official confirmation of the change in schedule.

He added that Mr Putin will now have "a couple of more hours" for "useful meetings" with other leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies.

Mr Trump also downgraded formal bilateral meetings with the leaders of Turkey and South Korea to informal meetings on the margins of the summit. 

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