President Donald Trump on Thursday abruptly canceled his meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin at this weekend's G-20 summit in Argentina.
Trump in two tweets blamed the cancellation of Saturday's expected encounter with Putin on the failure of Russia to return three ships and their sailors seized from Ukraine last weekend in the Black Sea.
But the social-media scuttling of the sitdown came an hour after he personally told reporters that he would probably meet with Putin.
And it came just two hours after Trump's ex-lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the president's involvement in an aborted real estate deal in Moscow.
"I will probably be meeting with President Putin. We haven't terminated that meeting," Trump had said outside the White House on Thursday, shortly before departing for Buenos Aires.
"I was thinking about it, but they'd like to have it. I think it's a very good time to have the meeting. I'm getting a full report on the plane as to what happened with respect to that and that will determine whether I will be meeting."
A spokesman for Putin said the Kremlin had no official information about Trump's decision to cancel the meeting.
Despite Trump's cancellation, members of the American G-20 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.
—Additional reporting by CNBC's Christina Wilkie