Trump May Cancel Putin Meeting over Russian Attack on Ukrainian Ships

President Trump meets with Russian President Putin at the G20 Summit, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Hamburg. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Trump meets with Russian President Putin at the G20 Summit, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Hamburg. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he may cancel a scheduled meeting with President Vladimir Putin this weekend in response to Russian "aggression" against Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Trump said he is awaiting a report from his national security team on the incident, but "maybe I won't have the meeting. Maybe I won't even have the meeting."

"I don't like that aggression. I don't want that aggression at all," he said.

Trump had been expected to meet with Putin on the sidelines of the G20 economic summit in Argentina this weekend.

He made the comments as Russia released videos Tuesday of three captured Ukrainian sailors purportedly confessing to "provocative" acts that brought on the Russian attack and seizure of three Ukrainian Navy ships in a contested Black Sea strait on Sunday.

Related: US, NATO Warn Russia of Potential Consequences for Attack on Ukrainian Navy

Ukrainian officials immediately charged that the statements in the videos produced by the Russian federal security service, or FSB, and shown on Russian state TV were coerced and could be used by Moscow as a pretext for more attempts to bully and undermine the Kiev government.

The three Ukrainian ships -- two gunboats and a tug -- were proceeding from the Ukrainian port of Odessa across the Black Sea and through the Kerch Strait to the Sea of Azov and the Ukrainian port of Mariupol when the attack began, according to Ukrainian officials.

In a statement, Vasyl Hrytsak, head of Ukraine's security service, professed to "real amazement" at the scope of the attack.

He said that six Russian security service vessels and four Navy warships converged on the three Ukrainian ships and opened fire with automatic weapons.

One of the Russian ships rammed the tugboat, and six of the total of 24 Ukrainians aboard the three ships were wounded, Hrystak said.

One of the more seriously wounded Ukrainians was the victim of a missile fired by a Sukhoi Su-30 fighter-bomber, he added.

Russia made clear Tuesday that the captured Ukrainians will face criminal charges of violating Russian territorial waters in the Kerch Strait.

Twelve of the Ukrainians were brought to a court in Simferopol, Crimea's capital, for a pre-trial hearing in which a judge ordered them held until Jan. 25, pending trial, Russian state news agencies reported.

In the videos shown on Russian state TV, the three Ukrainians said they intentionally crossed into Russian waters and ignored repeated requests to stop.

One of the three Ukrainians, identified as Volodymyr Lisovyi, said in the video, "I deliberately ignored requests via ultra-short-wave band" to leave the area.

Ukrainian officials charged that the three appeared to be reading from statements prepared for them by the Russians.

Late Monday, Ukraine's parliament agreed with the request of President Petro Poroshenko for a declaration of martial law for 30 days to defend against any additional actions by Russia.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at

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