UPDATED 6:34 AM PT — Wed. Nov. 28, 2018
According to National Security Adviser John Bolton, President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have planned to meet during the G20 summit in Argentina later this week. The two leaders are expected to address the mounting tensions between the Kremlin and Ukraine.
This comes amid alarming reports of ongoing military buildups in both Ukraine and Russia in the wake of a recent maritime incident. The president told reporters that he is still waiting on a full report from his national security team on this incident before deciding whether to meet with Putin.
On Tuesday, Russian media reported that the Kremlin has deployed a highly advanced anti-ship missile systems to the occupied Crimea. The move is poised to fuel tensions as the systems, known as BAL, are a serious weapon of war deployed to a territory with an unrecognized status under international law.
Meanwhile in Ukraine, troops are on high-alert after Marshall law was implemented by Kyiv earlier this week.
“I don’t want anyone to think this is fun and games — Ukraine is under the threat of full-scale war with Russia,” stated Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
The State Department has called for an international response to the brewing crisis in Crimea. U.S. officials have urged the Kremlin to release the captured Ukrainian sailors and to respect the Russian-Ukrainian treaty of free navigation in the Kerch Strait, which dates back to 2003.
“The United States government has taken a very strong position in their support in support of Ukraine,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert. “We would like other countries to do more as well — that is something that’s enshrined in our national security strategy.”
However, the Kremlin rejected international calls for talks with Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Ministry said it won’t accept foreign mediation in its dealings with Ukraine.
“This incident was intentionally provoked by Ukraine — in my opinion everyone must have a very clear understanding of how and why this happened,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The crisis is gradually heating-up and some say the Russian-Ukrainian tensions could spark large scale military clashes for the first time since 2014.
Hopes for a diplomatic settlement are fading as political circles in both Moscow and Kyiv speculate war may be the only solution.