DONALD TRUMP has said he may cancel a meeting with Vladimir Putin after Russia seized three Ukrainian ships and 23 crew members last weekend.
The US president said he would be receiving a ‘full report’ from his national security advisers on the capture of the naval vessels and Russian actions in eastern Ukraine.
‘Maybe I won’t have the meeting,’ he told the Washington Post.
‘I don’t like that aggression. I don’t want that aggression at all.’
The comments were Mr Trump’s strongest to date in condemnation of Moscow’s actions towards Ukraine.
But White House aides were still pressing ahead with plans for him to meet the Russian president during the G20 summit of world leaders in Argentina, which begins tomorrow.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the meeting was on and Russia had not received ‘any other information from our US counterparts’.
Mr Trump is also scheduled to meet Chinese president Xi Jinping over dinner at the summit for crunch talks about their trade dispute. The two countries have levied tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of imports from one another, with the latest round of US duties set to come into force in the new year.
The White House has warned Mr Xi against waiting for Mr Trump to give ground first, suggesting the US would prove more resilient to the impact of a trade war than China.
The US president will also meet German chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, Argentine president Mauricio Macri, South Korea’s Moon Jae-in, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said he would be championing a global economy based on ‘free, fair and reciprocal trade’.
Russia — which annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 — has begun prosecuting the sailors, who are accused of intruding into its waters.