Russia hits out at US for cancelling Trump-Putin meet on sidelines of G20
The cancellation of a meeting between the Presidents of the US and Russia had nothing to do with an escalation of tension between Kiev and Moscow but was due to internal American politics, said a spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin were due to meet at the G20 summit in the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires on December 1, but with tension intensifying between Russia and Ukraine after a naval confrontation in the Black Sea, the US leader cancelled the meeting on Thursday.
Moscow captured three Ukrainian naval vessels and 24 personnel near the Kerch Strait that separates the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov earlier this week after accusing them of tresspassing.
"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 with President Vladimir Putin," Trump had said on Twitter.
"I look forward to a meaningful summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!" he said.
However, Russia on Friday expressed regret over Trump's decision and also questioned whether the crisis in the Black Sea was the reason behind the cancellation of the meeting.
"Was Ukraine's provocation in the Kerch Strait the true reason for the cancellation? We have heard the official explanation and taken note of it," said Maria Zakharova, Director of the Russian ministry of foreign affairs, at a press conference.
"But is it true? The true reason is rooted in the domestic political situation in the US," Zakharova added.
Earlier on Friday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Moscow "regretted the US administration's decision to cancel the planned meeting".
"This means that a discussion on important issues on the bilateral and international agenda is being postponed indefinitely," Peskov was quoted as saying by TASS news agency.
Trump's announcement was contrary to his own statement made earlier when he said that the talks were not terminated and "it's a very good time to have a meeting".
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has blamed the Kiev-Moscow crisis "entirely" on Russia and said she would raise the issue with Putin.
(With inputs from agencies.)