U.S. President Donald Trump has said he "probably" won't be meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin when he travels to the French capital later this week.
“We haven’t set anything up yet. We don't know that that's going to be the right place. I'm going to be in Paris for other reasons,” Trump said on November 5.
"I'm not sure we'll have a meeting in Paris,” he also said. “Probably not."
Trump and Putin were both scheduled to participate in ceremonies in the capital on November 11 to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, amid persistent tension between the West and Russia over issues including Moscow's seizure of Crimea in 2014, its role in wars in Syria and eastern Ukraine, its alleged election meddling in the United States and Europe, and the poisoning of a Russian double agent and his daughter in Britain in March.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the multilateral format of the events in Paris will not allow for substantive meetings, but said the Russian and U.S. presidents will have "standing talks" to make a decision on a further formal meeting.
Trump said he will meet Putin at Group of 20 (G20) summit in Argentina on November 30-December 1, adding, “And probably we'll have meetings after that -- probably plenty of meetings.”
During the two leaders’ last meeting, in Helsinki in July, Trump was widely criticized, by Democrats and Republicans alike, for comments suggesting that he believed Putin’s denials about Russia’s interference in U.S. election interference. That directly contradicted conclusions by the U.S. intelligence community.