Although the United States President Donald Trump had canceled an official one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the situation in Ukraine, the two leaders reportedly had informal conversations during the G-20 summit in Argentina.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that the two leaders briefly spoke at a cultural dinner scheduled for the leaders and their wives. The dinner took place in the city’s famous Teatro Colon theater.
“As is typical at multilateral events, President Trump and the First Lady had a number of informal conversations with world leaders at the dinner last night, including President Putin,” Sanders noted in a statement.
Although Sanders did not disclose additional detail about the extent of the meeting, or what was discussed, Putin revealed in a press conference later Saturday that Trump had questioned him about Ukrainian ships’ seizure by Russia.
“We spoke in passing. I answered his questions about the incident in the Black Sea. He has his position. I have my own. We stayed in our own positions,” Putin told reporters, according to Newsweek.
Trump canceled the meeting with Putin citing the recent clash in the Kerch Strait, in which Russia detained three Ukrainian ships and 24 sailors. He announced meeting cancellation just prior to the start of the G 20 summit. Notably, the US President even avoided greeting Putin when leaders posed for a picture ahead of the summit on Friday.
During his press conference, Putin said it was unfortunate that he could not hold a formal meeting with Trump.
“It is unfortunate that we can’t hold a full-format meeting,” Putin said. “I think it is very much needed, in connection with issues of strategic stability, especially after [Trump] announced that the United States plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.”