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Putin meeting is off, tweets president

Protest: Donald Trump meets journalists at a White House press conference before leaving for Argentina PICTURE: GETTY

A MEETING with Vladimir Putin was cancelled by Donald Trump yesterday in protest at Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian vessels.

The US president tweeted his decision after leaving Washington for the G20 summit in Argentina, where he and his Russian counterpart were due to meet.

He said his move was ‘based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia’, adding: ‘I look forward to a meaningful summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!’

On Sunday, Russia seized three Ukrainian vessels and 24 crew. It claimed Ukraine did not have leave to pass between Russia’s mainland and the Crimean Peninsula. Ukraine said its vessels met maritime laws.

Yesterday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he only heard of the change from the tweet but Mr Putin now had ‘a couple more hours’ for ‘useful meetings’ with others.

Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko had called on Nato to send naval ships to help. German chancellor Angela Merkel said she would use the summit to urge Mr Putin to release the ships but added there was ‘no military solution’.