Newstalk
Newstalk

17.05 29 Nov 2018


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The US President has cancelled a planned meeting with his Russian counterpart over the country’s latest military action against Ukraine.

Donald Trump has said he will no longer meet with Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Ares which gets underway tomorrow.

It comes after Russia seized three Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea last weekend.

Simmering tensions between the former Soviet neighbours have been increasing in recent weeks and on Sunday, Russia moved to block several Ukrainian ships from entering the Kerch Strait near Crimea.

The Russian ships fired on their Ukrainian counterparts injuring several sailors.

Three Ukrainian naval ships that were seized by Russia, 26-11-2018. Image:  Bai Xueqi/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Moscow claims the vessels had illegally crossed the Russian border while Kiev said the Russian ships ‘deliberately’ opened fire and injured six sailors.

Ukrainian authorities have said a total of 23 sailors were captured along with the three ships and Kiev has labelled them “prisoners of war.”

Russia has begun prosecuting the sailors for an alleged attempt to enter Russian waters.

A ship sails under a bridge across the Kerch Strait, 26-11-2018. Image: Bai Xueqi/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

In a tweet this afternoon, President Trump said he was cancelling his meeting with President Putin because the sailors had not been returned.

“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,” he wrote.

“I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved.”

Under a 2003 treaty, both the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov are designated as shared territorial waters between Ukraine and Russia.

However, relations between the two have deteriorated sharply since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea.

Since the annexation, Russia has moved to claim the strait in its entirety and has been working to assert its control over the passage.


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