Trump says Putin meeting may be called off over ‘aggression’ against Ukraine


'I don't want anyone to think this is fun and games.

"That was a provocation which was certainly organized by the sitting officials, including the president, " ahead of Ukraine's presidential election in March, Putin said.

Putin on Wednesday broke his silence on the maritime clash, blaming it on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's desire to get re-elected.

The Kremlin said Wednesday it still expects a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump to go ahead as planned despite a suggestion from Trump that it could be cancelled.

He told the Washington Post: "Maybe I won't have the meeting with Mr Putin". Maybe I won't even have the meeting.

Russia also seized three vessels and a number of sailors after it claimed they illegally entered Russian waters at the Sea of Azov, which links to the Black Sea.

On Tuesday, the court ordered 15 of their compatriots to stay behind bars for the next two months.

The rest are expected to face trial on Wednesday, she said, while three others were still in hospital after being wounded in the weekend clash.

On Sunday the Ukrainian navy said a Russian warship rammed into one of its tugboats in the contested waters, which separates Crimea from mainland Russia.

He demanded Russian Federation release the Ukrainian sailors and vessels. We're going to see.

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It has raised fears of a wider escalation - in a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people since 2014 - and prompted global calls for restraint.

Following the incident, Ukraine impose a 30-day martial law in the country saying there was threat of a Russian invasion.

Martial law gives Ukrainian authorities the power to mobilise citizens with military experience, regulate the media and restrict public rallies in affected areas.

In a phone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Tuesday, Putin expressed "serious concern" over its introduction.

"I hope they understand that", he said.

In his first extensive remarks since the confrontation at sea on Sunday, Putin said it had been orchestrated by Kiev as a "provocation".

Commands including "squash him" are heard in video footage from the Russian FSB, which was obtained by Ukrainian forces. Commenting on the actions of the Russian border guards in the Strait, he stressed that they were doing their job of protecting the border.

Ukraine's naval commander, Igor Voronchenko, said the sailors were pressured into giving false evidence. Did they [the Ukranian vessels] let them know they're coming through? They had been traveling from the Ukrainian port of Odessa, on the Black Sea, to the Ukrainian port of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov.

Separately, a Reuters correspondent in Crimea on Wednesday observed a Russian navy minesweeper ship, the Vice-Admiral Zakharin, heading for the Sea of Azov, which is used by both Ukraine and Russia and is an area of growing tensions.

Austria, which now holds the rotating European Union presidency, has said the bloc will consider further sanctions against the Kremlin at an upcoming meeting.