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Ukraine-Russia sea clash: Trump says may cancel G20 Putin talks

Written by Maritime First

…As Three U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan IED detonation***

US President Donald Trump says he may cancel a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin following a maritime clash between Russia and Ukraine.

Mr Trump told the Washington Post he was waiting for a “full report” after Russian ships fired on and seized three Ukrainian boats on Sunday.

Ukraine described it as an “act of aggression” but Russia said the ships had illegally entered its waters.

Martial law has been imposed in parts of Ukraine, in an unprecedented move.

Meanwhile, the US has urged European states to do more to support Ukraine.

State department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Washington wanted to see tougher enforcement of sanctions against Russia.

What did Donald Trump say?

Mr Trump and Mr Putin are due to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires later this week.

However, Mr Trump told the Washington Post that the report coming from his national security team would be “very determinative”.

“Maybe I won’t have the meeting [with Mr Putin]. Maybe I won’t even have the meeting. I don’t like that aggression. I don’t want that aggression at all,” he said.

The two men are scheduled to discuss security, arms control, and issues in Ukraine and the Middle East when the summit convenes on Friday and Saturday, national security adviser John Bolton told reporters.

How is the crisis playing out?

Russian coastguard ships opened fire on Sunday as the two Ukrainian gunboats and a tug sailed through the Kerch Strait off the coast of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014. Twenty-four Ukrainians were detained and at least three were wounded in the incident.

A Crimean court later ordered that 12 of the Ukrainians be detained for 60 days. The court is expected to issue rulings for the remaining servicemen on Wednesday.

The FSB security service has since released videos of some of the men making statements. One of them, Volodymyr Lisovyi, said he was aware of the “provocative nature” of the Ukrainian action.

Another, Andriy Drach, said he had been on a gunboat with an order to sail from Odessa to Mariupol.

“We were warned by the border service of the Russian Federation that we were violating Russian law. They had repeatedly asked us to leave the territorial waters of the Russian Federation,” he said.

Ukraine’s navy commander, Ihor Voronchenko, told Ukrainian TV that the men had given false statements under duress.

In the meantime, three U.S. service members were killed and three were wounded in Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device detonated Tuesday, NATO officials said.

An American contractor was also wounded when the device detonated near Ghazni city, the NATO-led Resolute Support mission said in a statement.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying a military vehicle was destroyed.

The Taliban is active in Ghazni province and tried to take over the capital of Ghazni city in August. Ghazni is Afghanistan’s only province that didn’t hold a parliamentary election in October.

The contractor and the three wounded service members were evacuated and being treated for their injuries.

The U.S. Department of Defense does not identify killed service members until 24 hours after their families are notified.

On Saturday, Army Sgt. Leandro A.S. Jasso, 25, from Washington state was killed in Afghanistan’s Helmand province by small arms fire, according to Defense Department officials.

An initial military review indicates he was likely accidentally shot by a member of the Afghan Security Forces which works in conjunction with the U.S. military.

“There are no indications he was shot intentionally,” a Resolute Support statement said.

BBC with additional report from NBC

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Maritime First