The moves usually taken by the President Donald Trump are peculiar, but his reasons behind are generally carefully thought-through. The recent announcement by the president is a transparent evidence of his thought process. Taking into account the escalating crisis between Russia and Ukraine, Trump recently scrapped his planned upcoming meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina.
“Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided to cancel my previously scheduled meeting … in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin,” Trump tweeted on Thursday. “I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved.”
The US President was referring to the recent attacks on three Ukraine vessels by the Russian ships in the Kerch Strait. The Ukrainian ships were later boarded and seized by the Russian crews. Along with Ukraine, several Western leaders criticized it as a flagrant act of Russian aggression.
Lately, there has been a lot of confusion over whether or not the Trump-Putin meeting should take place. At a press briefing on Tuesday, the National Security Adviser John Bolton stated that Trump would meet the Russian President in Argentina. However later, in an interview with The Washington Post, Trump said “maybe he won’t have the meeting.”
On Thursday morning, Kremlin confirmed that both the leaders would indeed meet at the G20 summit on Saturday. The Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, “We are expecting the two presidents to speak briefly at first, but everything is left to the discretion of the heads of state.”
Moreover, right before boarding his flight to Argentina, Trump declared that the meeting with Putin was still on the schedule. He told the reporters, “We haven’t terminated that meeting, I was thinking about it. They would like to have it, I think it’s a very good time to have a meeting.”
He also indicated that he would read the “report” about Ukraine on the plane, and less than an hour later, the US President announced that the meeting with Putin was cancelled.
The announcement came on Twitter even before it was conveyed to Kremlin. Peskov said, “We’ve only seen the tweet and reports. We don’t have any official information.” She added, “If that’s the case, the president will have a couple extra hours in his schedule for useful meetings.”
Trump’s confusion about the meeting with Putin has run parallel to the intensifying investigations by Robert Mueller into the Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections. However, his decision to scrap the meeting came as a shock, as Putin’s tricks have never restrained Trump from having a meeting with the Russian President before this.
Trump cancelled the meeting hours after his former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to the congressional intelligence committees about the 2016 ‘Trump Tower’ project in Moscow. The connecting dots have led to the speculation that the sudden decision of calling off the meeting is less about Ukraine and more about Cohen’s allegations on the US President.
As the Russian probe augments, Donald Trump has fallen under deep scanning. Michael Cohen’s avowal on Thursday has certainly made the US President more cautious about his choices.