Trump U-TURN as US President meets Putin on sidelines of G20 Summit

The “brief” meeting was confirmed by the White House, with officials adding the two world leaders had an “informal conversation” at the G20 meeting. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement: “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.” The discussion came after US President Mr Trump scrapped a scheduled meeting with Mr Putin due to Russia’s confrontation with Ukrainian ships. The clash, that took place on Wednesday, was rubbished by Mr Putin who insisted it was staged – despite Russian border guards opening fire on two Ukrainian gunboats and a tug before seizing their crews.

Ukraine has since condemned the incident as a Russian “act of aggression”.

This was echoed by the EU, who expressed their “utmost concern about the dangerous increase of tensions”.

The bloc added Russia’s use of force was “unacceptable”, but failed to mention whether they would impose new sanctions on the power nation.

Earlier today there had been suspicions Mr Trump threatened to cancel his meeting with Mr Putin because of developments in the special counsel’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Mr Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said the gathering was cancelled “because the Russians behaved in a way that is deeply inconsistent with international law”.

He added: “The President wanted to send a clear, unambiguous message that we find that type of behaviour unacceptable, so we cancelled the meeting.”

But an informal chat between Trump and Putin went ahead on the sidelines of the summit regardless.

World leaders have gathered in Buenos Aires for the G20 summit this weekend.

Also in attendance is China President Jinping Xi, who is embroiled in a bitter trade war with Mr Trump.

He and Mr Trump will meet later for talks over dinner, it has been announced.

Yesterday, a top economist from Yale warned the US “could be entering a Cold War with China” over trade.

The US has slapped tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods since July, prompting China to retaliate with charges on $110 billion worth of US products.