Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that he was open to talking with Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko as pressure mounts internationally against Russia to release three navy ships and 24 sailors it captured last Sunday.
In comments made during a news conference at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Putin said he did not see a problem directly speaking to Poroshenko but complained that the Ukrainian president has not been clear in communicating with him.
"As for top-level contacts, I am not against them," Putin said about talks with Poroshenko, according to the Russian state-run news agency TASS. "Yes, indeed, the talks haven't taken place, but this doesn't mean that we ceased all contacts. However, it is difficult to communicate, because it is unclear what to talk about."
Russia charged that the three Ukrainian navy ships sailed into its territorial waters in the Kerch Strait Nov. 27. Russia seized the vessels and took the sailors into custody, threatening to prosecute them.
Ukrainian officials have denied that the vessels were in Russian waters and they had the right to sail through the Kerch Strait. The actions have brought condemnation from the United States and numerous Western countries.
"Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting," he wrote.
"I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!"
Despite calling off the meeting, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed that Trump and Putin did speak informally at a dinner Friday night during a cultural dinner for the G20 attendees and their spouses at Teatro Colón theater.
"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," Sanders said in a statement, according to USA Today.