NEW YORK — President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and their Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will meet in New York next week, the White House said Thursday.
The three leaders are expected to discuss the situation in Crimea, including the referendum held on March 13 that resulted in the overthrow of Ukraine’s new leaders.
Trump will also host Xi and Putin for a dinner at the White Castle Hotel in New Jersey, where they are expected meet with senior administration officials.
The meeting comes after Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday, and a subsequent announcement by Trump that he planned to seek congressional approval to reinstate his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.
The White House had previously said Trump planned to meet with Comey at the National Security Council, the executive branch agency that coordinates foreign affairs.
But the two leaders will not meet in person.
Instead, Trump and Putin will have a dinner on Friday at Trump Tower in New New York, where Trump is scheduled to sign an executive order, the State Department said in a statement.
Trump’s announcement on Thursday morning prompted immediate backlash on social media, with people expressing their dismay that the president would be meeting with a foreign leader who has fired an FBI director.
The Russian Foreign Ministry tweeted Thursday evening, “This is very sad.
Not only the situation of Crimea, but the whole situation in Ukraine.””
The US should withdraw from international agreements which are harmful to its security,” a Twitter user named @KrystianTymoshenko said.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, asked by reporters on Thursday whether the two would discuss the Crimean situation, said: “No, not at all.”
Trump, who has repeatedly accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, has repeatedly denied any involvement in the vote, which the Kremlin said was carried out in the “full support of Russia’s territorial integrity.”
Trump has made clear he plans to seek Congress’ approval to formally reinstate the president in early 2019, after a two-year delay that coincided with his departure from office in January.
Trump and his top aides have been reluctant to concede to the new president, who would be the third U.N. chief in six months to be removed from office.
They have instead sought to portray the Russian leader as a “murderer” and “killer,” and have called for sanctions against Russia to be lifted.
Trump has also repeatedly refused to acknowledge that he is personally responsible for the death of a U.K. soldier, and the president has repeatedly said he doesn’t believe the British soldier was involved in the July 2016 attack on London Bridge.