WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will probably meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a G20 summit in Argentina over the weekend, despite having expressed displeasure with Russian actions against Ukraine.
“I probably will be meeting with President Putin,” he told reporters as he left Washington to fly to Buenos Aires. “They would like to have it. I think it’s a very good time to have the meeting,” Trump said.
He said he would get a final report during the flight on the tension in the region after Russia seized Ukrainian vessels near Crimea on Sunday.
“I’m getting a full report on the plane as to what happened with respect to that and that will determine what I’m going to be doing,” he said.
Relations between Washington and Moscow became the most strained since the end of the Cold War during the administration of President Barack Obama who imposed sanctions for Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
U.S. intelligence agencies accused Russia of interfering in the 2016 U.S. election, an allegation Moscow has repeatedly denied. A U.S. special counsel is investigating whether Trump’s election colluded with Moscow, something he denies.
Trump also said on Thursday he would have been willing to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Argentina but there was no time in his schedule. Trump has been under pressure from Congress to punish the crown prince over his suspected involvement in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Alistair Bell