Russian President Vladimir Putin has downplayed the possibility of President Trump cancelling a planned meeting on the sidelines of this weekend’s G20. He says the US has not contacted him about any cancellations yet, and that he maintains Russia did nothing wrong.
Trump made the comments Tuesday after a Sunday maritime incident between Russia and Ukraine, saying he didn’t like the Russian aggression. Putin says that Ukraine was clearly in the wrong in violating Russian waters. Putin further said he believes Ukrainian President Poroshenko started the provocation as a political move, because he was polling so poorly in next year’s vote.
This allowed Poroshenko, Putin says, to impose martial law. With just a few months ahead of the vote, Poroshenko can now use his increased powers to try to both shore up his political reputation, and scare the public about the threat of a Russian invasion, which has been his main talking point virtually since his election.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov criticized the US for backing Ukraine over the matter, saying they are encouraging Ukraine to carry on with provocations. Defense Secretary James Mattis said this just proves you can’t trust the Russians, though US officials would likely have said that with or without the incident.