Obama Cancels Meeting With Russian President Vladimir Putin Over Snowden, Human Rights Issues

PutinObama has canceled plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the AP reports:

The move is in retribution for Russia's decision to grant temporary asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. But it also reflects growing U.S. frustration with Russia on an array of other issues, including missile defense and human rights.

Obama still plans to attend the G20 summit in St. Petersburg but will not meet privately with Putin there either.

UPDATE: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney released the following statement:

Following a careful review begun in July, we have reached the conclusion that there is not enough recent progress in our bilateral agenda with Russia to hold a U.S.-Russia Summit in early September.  We value the achievements made with Russia in the President’s first term, including the New START Treaty, and cooperation on Afghanistan, Iran, and North Korea.  However, given our lack of progress on issues such as missile defense and arms control, trade and commercial relations, global security issues, and human rights and civil society in the last twelve months, we have informed the Russian Government that we believe it would be more constructive to postpone the summit until we have more results from our shared agenda.  Russia’s disappointing decision to grant Edward Snowden temporary asylum was also a factor that we considered in assessing the current state of our bilateral relationship. Our cooperation on these issues remains a priority for the United States, so on Friday, August 9, Secretaries Hagel and Kerry will meet with their Russian counterparts in a 2+2 format in Washington to discuss how we can best make progress moving forward on the full range of issues in our bilateral relationship.


  1. The Milkman says

    Not sure about this one. Might it have been better to press Putin on the subject(s)?

  2. JMC says

    Let’s just be honest, this has everything to do with Snowden and nothing at all to do with the persecution of gay people in Russia.

  3. Jon says

    Leave Russia in the cold. Move the Olympics anywhere else. There’s plenty of time to do that. Yes, seriously.

  4. eric says

    In 2012 Jimmy Carter said that he believed that the US was in violation of 1/3 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. I wonder what his estimate is up to now?

  5. HadenoughBS says

    I don’t know about that, JMC. Yes, I think the issue with Russia harboring Snowden definitely is #1 for the Obama administration. However, knowing the way Putin likes to thumb his nose at the US over various issues, I really believe Obama’s meeting snubs with this former KGB agent are due to major differences over cumulative US-Russian issues including their new anti-LGBT law (view Obama’s comments on this subject on last night’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno).

    It’s always difficult to decide whether to meet or not to meet over such matters but, in this case, I think it’s finally time to show the Kremlin that they’re not going to continually browbeat this US administration and win the PR war. Enough is enough!

  6. MIke says

    “I think it’s finally time to show the Kremlin that they’re not going to continually browbeat this US administration and win the PR war. Enough is enough!”

    Uhm, they’ve won it. Obama wants Snowden. Putin says no. Obama wants Russia to quit aiding the Syrians. Putin says no. Obama is upset over Russian gay policies. Putin couldn’t give a rat’s ass.

  7. Belthazar says

    @JMC/WILL – Based on what evidence are you making ‘that’ assertion? Because the Snowden situation has been out there for a while, POTUS could have cancelled the meeting prior if it was solely about Snowden. As noted in the A/P report, cancelling a meeting can be about more than one issue: Syria, Disarmament, Snowden, Human Rights, Etc.!

  8. says

    Anyone else think this headline is confusing. It sounds like Obama decided to not meet Putin and talk about snowden and gays over snowden.

  9. Tora Highman says

    The United States should have nuked these barbarians off the face of the Earth long ago when we had the chance in the 50’s and 60’s. The Russian men are all neanderthals and their women are nothing but cheap prostitutes.

  10. Carlos Abreu says

    Let Snowden coast for a year or two, we can catch him on the tail end. He blew his load, so to speak, and is no longer a threat to our national security. We can try and punish him later. The remaining issues seem more important to address right now.

  11. Mike Ryan says

    Snowden be damned. The guy is a whistle blower and certainly not a traitor. Why isn’t Obama canceling because of the anti-gay laws and this Administration’s fear of harm to US citizens? THAT should be the headline here, certainly not Snowden.

  12. Alex says

    This has nothing to do with Russia’s horrible treatment of gays. Let’s be real. The U.S. has strong relationships with countries like Saudi Arabia that have terrible human rights records. We’ve always turned a blind eye to countries that commit atrocities as long as it benefited American interests.

    Obama cancelled this meeting because Russia gave Snowden sanctuary. End of story.

    We should all take a step back and realize how horrific things have become in this country when a whistleblower has to flee to Russia to escape the likelihood of torture in U.S. custody. The sad reality is that the U.S. kidnaps, tortures, rapes, and imprisons or kills without trial people it considers enemies of the state–including American citizens. Look at the recent story about the CIA officers who were convicted in Italy for kidnapping and sending a man to be tortured in Egypt. The guy was innocent but spent years suffering horribly.

    How is that not what we would expect of Russia, China, or a host of other oppressive regimes? Yes, we have the veneer of a free society but underneath that? Sheesh! It’s scary: universal surveillance that would’ve made the East German Secret Police ecstatic, the largest percentage of our population in prison after China, etc., etc.

    Sorry, kids, I’m not paranoid. Just realistic.

  13. Alex says

    Mike Ryan,

    The U.S. doesn’t care about human rights violations unless condemning them are convenient to some other goal. The reality is that America has teamed with dictators who committed genocide because it is in America’s best interest to be their pals.

    European countries do the same thing. It’s a brutal world.

  14. jamal49 says

    Gee, Tora, thanks for those marvelous insights. But, um, dear, uh, I don’t think we could have, well, NUKED the Russkies back in the ’50s/60s/70s without immolating the entire planet. See, it wasn’t called MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) for nothing. We shoot our nuclear wad. They shoot their nuclear wad. And BOOM!! Incinerated planet!! So, bad idea then. Bad idea now. And, Mr. Obama can’t win for nothing with the TW crowd, can he?

  15. Jack M says

    Snowden is the main issue, but the Olympics is the second issue. If Russia were discriminating against the Jews or other minority it would be the same result.

  16. Alex says

    Why do people even think nuclear warfare is in anyway acceptable or winnable? How does killing millions solve a problem caused by a handful of leaders? Do people not realize that the radiation released in one part of the globe spread across the rest of it?

    It’s 2013. Nuclear warfare is not an option.

    Seriously, why are people this ridiculous?

  17. Gregoire says

    I think its obvious that there were a host of reasons to cancel this summit and to parse what might be the most important one seems an unproductive activity.

  18. GB says

    Obama blew it with Snowden. If he’s canceling meetings with Putin, that’s a real show of Presidential prowess. Putin made his look like a fool.

  19. Tora Highman says

    You people wouldn’t/couldn’t tell the difference between sarcasm and a cupcake if your lives depended upon it. LIGHTEN THE F UP!!!!

  20. Tora Highman says

    I still stand by my original statement though… “Russian men are all neanderthals and their women are nothing but cheap prostitutes.”

  21. Ken says

    Would have liked to have seen more in the comment from the White House about the anti gay law in Russia. Sounds like this is really all about Snowden.