Trump's tweet from aboard Air Force One shortly after takeoff from Washington on the way to Buenos Aires for a Group of 20 summit, was a sudden turnaround. Trump told reporters outside the White House less than two hours prior to the cancelation that he was contemplating terminating the meeting.
All of which means that Trump will have to deal with more than the usual forced grins and awkward handshakes when he confronts his summit counterparts in Buenos Aires.
Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin's press secretary, was quoted as saying that the Kremlin only learnt about the cancellation from Mr Trump's tweet by Russian media.
Ukraine and Russian Federation have both blamed the other for the incident, with Kiev declaring martial law and warning they fear a ground invasion.
Volodymyr Omelyan, Ukraine's infrastructure minister, said November 29 that Russian Federation had imposed a de facto blockade on two Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov, by barring ships from leaving or entering the sea via the Kerch Strait.
The two leaders met in Helsinki in July for a summit that many viewed as a low point for Trump's presidency.More news: Poroshenko explains timing of Russia's attack on Ukrainian ships near Kerch Strait
Could Russia invade? The BBC asked Ukrainians what they think.
USA intelligence agencies accused Russian Federation of interfering in the 2016 US election, an allegation Moscow has repeatedly denied.
Russian Federation continues to hold three Ukrainian naval vessels and more than 20 sailors they seized last weekend in the Black Sea.
"Germany is one of our closest allies, and we hope that states within North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are now willing to deploy naval vessels to the Sea of Azov in order to support Ukraine and to guarantee its safety", Bild quotes him as saying.
Spotted leaving with the first couple were Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump along with the president's outgoing personal aide Jordan Karen.
However, former USA diplomat and foreign policy adviser to Senate Republican leaders, Jim Jatras, said that Kerch strait was simply the pretext for Trump's decision.
Not sure if meetings with President Trump are scheduled, but John Bolton and Mike Pompeo are there and some kind of get-together about North Korea looks highly likely.
Since then, the United States has investigated Russia's possible interference in the 2016 election that Trump won. Trump will strut his way through the G-20 sessions as is his wont, but he won't be able to avoid a lot of uncomfortable encounters.