Russian President Vladimir Putin is unruffled by the refusal of US President Donald Trump to have a meeting with him on the sidelines of the G20 summit, the Kremlin has insisted.
The two leaders had been scheduled to have talks during the summit in Buenos Aires but Mr Trump abruptly cancelled the encounter following Russia’s seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crews.
Mr Putin’s foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said the Russian leader did not feel insulted, but added that the Kremlin regrets the cancellation in view of the numerous issues that require discussion.
“No, we didn’t feel hurt, but we express our regret,” he told reporters.
Mr Ushakov noted that Mr Putin and Mr Trump spoke informally for about 10-15 minutes during a G20 dinner, discussing the November 25 naval incident and the broader situation in Ukraine. He added that the possibility of Mr Putin’s future trip to Washington was not discussed.
Russia-US ties have sunk to post-Cold War lows over the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria, the allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and other irritants.
Mr Ushakov pointed out that Moscow and Washington maintained a dialogue even at the height of the Cold War.
“That didn’t impede having a serious talk and achieving serious results in the strategic stability and security sphere,” he said.
Mr Ushakov said that it is up to Washington to organise a possible future meeting.
“The Russian side is ready for dialogue and considers the high-level contact very important, but we aren’t going to beg the US side and obtrude,” he said. “Now everything depends on the Americans.”