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Trump won’t meet Putin ‘in the foreseeable future’: Bolton

 Muslim Times(Web Desk) – US National Security Adviser John Bolton has said that President Donald Trump will not meet Russian President Vladimir Putin “in the foreseeable future” due to Moscow’s seizure of Ukrainian ships and their crews from the Kerch Strait.

“I don’t see circumstances in the foreseeable future where such a meeting could take place until he ships and crews are released,” Bolton told reporters following remarks at the Heritage Foundation Thursday morning.

In late November, Trump abruptly canceled his planned meeting with Putin the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Argentina, citing Russia’s maritime clash with Ukraine in waters off the coast of the Crimean Peninsula.

Trump put the blame of cancellation on Russia’s refusal to release Ukrainian Navy ships and sailors captured during a maritime confrontation between the two countries.

“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,” Trump tweeted last month just before the summit.

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

Bolton on Thursday said that Trump “made the same point” when he “ran into” Putin at a dinner during the summit.

“We simply could not have the previously scheduled encounter as long as Russia still held the Ukrainian ships and crews,” Bolton said. “It’s something that the president feels strongly about.”

The latest hostilities between Moscow and Kiev unfolded last month when Russia’s naval forces intercepted and seized three Ukrainian vessels after they illegally entered Russian waters off the coast of Crimea in the Sea of Azov.

Crimea seceded from Ukraine and rejoined Russia in 2014, prompting the West to impose sanctions against Moscow.

The Kremlin has said the seizure of the Ukrainian ships was lawful because they were trespassing.

Ukraine’s lawmakers later adopted a martial law measure in the border regions of the country for 30 days during a vote in the parliament.

The martial law gives Ukrainian officials the power to mobilize citizens with military experience, control the media, and impose restrictions on public rallies.

Some countries have claimed Russia is seeking to assert its dominion over the Sea of Azov.

Some European politicians have renewed calls for imposing further sanctions on Russia over the incident.

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