Trump Cancels Meeting With Putin, Citing Naval Clash Between Russia and Ukraine

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, told reporters traveling with the president on Air Force One that he opted to scrub the meeting after reviewing the report on Russia’s actions against Ukraine. Mr. Trump conferred with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and with John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, who were on the plane, and by phone with John R. Bolton, his national security adviser, who was in Brazil.

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, told Russian reporters that they had seen Mr. Trump’s Twitter posting but had no other word from the American government.

“We don’t have official information,” he said, according to the Tass news agency. He added, “If this is so,” then Mr. Putin “will have a few additional hours in the schedule for useful meetings on the sidelines of the summit.”

The meeting was scrapped days after Russian forces seized three small Ukrainian naval vessels and more than 20 sailors, including at least three wounded in a shooting by the Russian side, and briefly blocked passage through the Kerch Strait. Ukraine’s government declared temporary martial law.

While Mr. Trump had said earlier in the week that he was not happy about the aggression, he had left any stronger denunciation of Russia’s action to his United Nations ambassador. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle had called on Mr. Trump to take a tougher stance and even cancel the meeting with Mr. Putin.

The two leaders were to get together while both were in Buenos Aires for the Group of 20, or G-20, summit meeting of large economic powers. It was to be their first meeting since they saw each other in Helsinki and Mr. Trump appeared to equate Mr. Putin’s denial that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential elections with the firm conclusions of American intelligence agencies that it did.

Mr. Trump had been trying to set up another meeting for months, first suggesting Mr. Putin come visit the White House and later arranging to sit down together in Paris earlier this month, but neither idea went ahead. Instead, the two leaders settled on Buenos Aires for their next meeting.