Kerch Strait Clash: Donald Trump Cancels Meeting with Vladimir Putin at G20 Summit
President Donald Trump has decided to cancel a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the naval clash between Ukraine and Russia in Kerch Strait.
On November 25, Russian border guards fired on three Ukrainian ships and seized their crews off the Crimean Peninsula.
President Trump said he would not meet President Putin at a G20 summit in the coming days, “based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned”.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel blamed the crisis “entirely” on Russia.
Angela Merkel said she would raise the issue with Vladimir Putin at the G20 meeting, which is due to be held in Argentina between November 30 and December 1.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has urged NATO to send ships to the area. He has implemented martial law across Ukraine’s border regions for 30 days in response to the crisis.
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On November 29, President Poroshenko announced that Russians living in Ukraine would soon face restrictions on bank withdrawals, changing foreign currency and travelling abroad.
The incident happened on November 25, when two Ukrainian gunboats and a tug were sailing from Odessa to the port of Mariupol, in the Sea of Azov – which is shared between Russia and Ukraine.
The ships were stopped from entering the Kerch Strait and confronted by FSB border guards. After a lengthy standoff, during which the Ukrainian tug was rammed, the vessels began turning back towards Odessa, the Ukrainian government says.
The Russians opened fire, wounding at least three sailors, and seized the Ukrainian flotilla.
The Kerch Strait separates Russia from Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula that was annexed by Russia in 2014.
However, Ukraine says Russia is deliberately blockading Mariupol and another Ukrainian port on the Sea of Azov, Berdyansk.
The 24 captured Ukrainian sailors have now been given two months in pre-trial detention by a court in Crimea.