Obama Will Not Meet With Putin During Visit to Russia for G-20
President Obama will not meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin when he travels to the country in September for the G-20.
On Wednesday, Obama canceled the meeting which was scheduled in advance of the summit in St. Petersburg. Instead of swinging through Moscow to speak with Putin, Obama has added a stop in Sweden to his schedule.
The snub is the result of growing tensions with Russia after Putin offered asylum to accused National Security Agency leak, Edward Snowden. Obama called Russia's offer of safe harbor to Snowden for one year "disappointing."
But the Snowden situation isn't the only reason Obama has beef with Russia's leader. According to White House representatives, the granting of asylum in defiance of a U.S. request is only the latest in a string of troubling interactions between Russia and the United States. The two countries have remained far apart on issues of human rights and missile defense as well.
The U.S. accuses Russia of helping Syrian President Bashar Assad fund an ongoing civil war and has been critical of the way the country deals with critics of its government. The U.S. also recently sanctioned 18 Russians for civil rights violations.
Obama spoke about his feelings on Russia's treatment of some of its citizens with Jay Leno in a Tuesday night interview.
Putin, meanwhile, accuses the U.S. of installing missile shields in Eastern Europe, which point toward Russia — a charge the U.S. has continued to deny.
Despite the obvious rift, the White House says they will continue to cooperate with Russia as much as possible.
"We'll still work with Russia on issues where we can find common ground, but it was the unanimous view of the president and his national security team that a summit did not make sense in the current environment," White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said.