Trump’s cancellation of meeting with Putin unlikely to complicate relations, expert says

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MOSCOW, November 30. /TASS/. The US President Donald Trump’s decision to call off his meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina is unlikely to seriously complicate relations between the two countries, which already are complicated enough, Chairman of the Board of the Valdai International Discussion Club’s Development and Support Foundation Andrei Bystritsky, told TASS.

“Since relations are not very good to start with, it is quite possible that there will be no further actions,” he said. “A thing to note is that for some time, the West showed rather moderate response to the Kerch Strait incident. The West has its experience in dealing with Ukraine, which is confusing, to put it mildly. Perhaps, Trump’s response will not have any significant consequences,” the expert pointed out.

“In my view, there is a good chance that there will be some rhetoric but nothing special will happen. There will be discussions of new sanctions and the like, but the matter is most likely to come down to mere rhetoric,” Bystritsky said, adding, however, that relations between Russia and the West still could deteriorate further following the cancellation of the Putin-Trump meeting.

Impressive move

According to the expert, Trump had to call off the meeting in view of the domestic political situation in the United States and the pressure he and his administration are facing.

“I think that under these circumstances, we need to pay the most attention to domestic politics. It is a domestic political situation that matters for Trump for he has been under huge pressure in relation to the Mueller investigation, the midterm election, the issues with Mexico and all that,” Bystritsky said.

“Trump wanted to make an impressive move to make himself heard, taking into account the spread of anti-Russian sentiments among the US elite,” he stressed.


Until next year


Given all of the above, the Russian and US leaders are unlikely to hold substantive talks in the near future, the expert went on to say.

“It may happen next year, but it is hard to tell. A meeting can hardly be expected to take place in the near future. However, Trump did not close the door forever, he set out some conditions. Perhaps, these conditions will be naturally fulfilled soon enough,” Bystritsky noted.

Cancelled meeting

Putin and Trump were scheduled to hold talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina on December 1. It would have been their fifth personal meeting. However, on Thursday, Trump cancelled the meeting, citing the Kerch Strait incident.

Kerch Strait incident

On November 25, three Ukrainian navy ships illegally crossed Russia’s border and tried to carry out some illegal actions in Russian territorial waters later in the day. They ignored legitimate demands to stop issued by vessels belonging to the FSB Border Service and the Black Sea Fleet and continued maneuvering dangerously. In order to stop the Ukrainian ships, weapons had to be used. The three vessels were detained in Russian territorial waters. Three Ukrainian military servicemen suffered light wounds and were provided with medical assistance. A criminal investigation has been opened into the border incident.

Moscow branded Kiev’s stunt in the Kerch Strait as a dangerous provocation, while the European Union and NATO called for a de-escalation of tensions, while Kiev declared a 30-day martial law.

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