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Trump Snubs Putin at G20 Meeting After Ukraine Tensions

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U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly canceled planned talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, as both presidents arrived in Argentina for a summit of the world’s 20 leading economies, AFP reports.

Trump called off Saturday’s bilateral with President Vladimir Putin at the G20 minutes after saying it would “probably” still happen despite Russia’s seizure of three Ukrainian ships, as “it’s a very good time to have the meeting.”

“I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!” Trump tweeted, calling on Russia to return the ships and their detained crews.

Despite Trump’s cancellation, members of the American G20 delegation could meet with their Russian counterparts, and Trump and Putin could still speak with each other at the summit.

National Security Advisor John Bolton had said Tuesday that if Trump and Putin did meet, it would be “a continuation of their discussion in Helsinki,” where the two leaders met in July. At that meeting in Finland, the presidents had talked about arms control and other security issues.

The cancellation coincided with a new eruption in the controversy over Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election — an issue that also flared up when the pair held their only summit to date, in Finland in July. Trump again ridiculed the investigation into the allegations and accused his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, of lying, after Cohen pleaded guilty to misleading Congress.

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reacted frostily to Trump’s cancellation, saying it would free up Putin to hold other “useful meetings” at the G20.

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Another Bird Strike Causes Utair Flight to Return to Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport

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A Utair airliner headed from Moscow to Ufa, the capital of Russia’s Bashkortostan Region, returned to its departure airport on Friday after a bird hit its windshield, the air carrier’s press service informed TASS.

“The Moscow-Ufa flight returned to Vnukovo after suffering a bird strike shortly after takeoff. A bird hit its windshield. The aircraft landed safely. The airline is changing the plane,” the press service stated.

It noted that the flight to Ufa is scheduled to depart at 15:30 Moscow time.

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At Least 5 Killed, 11 Injured in Blast in Pakistan’s Balochistan

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At least five people were killed and 11 others injured on Friday in an explosion that occurred in Pakistan’s Balochistan province at an Islamic school or madrassa, the Pakistani media reported.

According to Pakistani news website Dawn, the nature of the blast could not immediately be ascertained. The injured in the explosion were transported to Quetta Civil Hospital.

A local police official told media that the IED blast occurred at around 1525 hrs local time and video showed that the explosion caused extensive damage to the madrassa.

Since June this year, the frequencies of attacks have increased. On 23 July, at least three people were killed, and 18 were injured in a bomb attack in the Eastern Bypass area. On 30 July, five people were killed, and 30 people were injured in an attack at a police station.

Earlier this year, Pakistan deployed an army division to protect interests in Sino-Pakistan development projects including those in the Balochistan region.

Pakistan has been facing an insurgency in Balochistan since 1947, with Baloch nationalist organisations struggling to create an independent state. The Balochi are also a dominant ethnic minority in Iran and Afghanistan.

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Two Turkish Surveillance Planes Allegedly Violate Greece’s Airspace

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Two Turkish CN-235 surveillance planes entered Greece’s airspace over the Aegean Sea amid ongoing tensions between Ankara and Athens over Turkey’s drilling operations off Cyprus’ coast, local media reported, citing defence sources.

According to the sources, as cited by the Ekathimerini news outlet the two aircraft on Thursday carried out a total of 33 violations of Greece’s national airspace and three violations of the Athens’ Flight Information Region’s air traffic policies.

Both planes were identified by Greek pilots and chased off, in line with the international rules of engagement, which dictate that every state has complete and exclusive sovereignty over airspace above its territories.

Turkey hasn’t commented on the reports yet.

In late May, Greek and Turkish military representatives met to discuss ways to ease bilateral tensions over Ankara’s claims to search rights for the exploration of hydrocarbons off the coast of Cyprus, which is de facto split into two parts — the Greek Cypriot Administration and the non-recognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

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