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Washington: US President Barack Obama on Wednesday canceled a Russian summit with President Vladimir Putin scheduled for next month in retaliation for Moscow’s decision to grant asylum to intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.
The move is seen as a great setback in US-Russia relations especially at a time when both the countries are struggling hard to mend their ties.
In a statement released by the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said, “Following a review in July, we have reached at a conclusion that there is not enough progress in our bilateral policies with Russia. So, a US-Russia summit in early September is uncalled for.”
Meanwhile, the Russian government expressed disappointment over the US decision. Putin’s foreign policy aide, Yuri Ushakov, said, “It is very clear that the decision is taken due to the Snowden issue which we did not create.”
He further stressed that Russia’s invitation for Obama to visit Moscow still stood.
The tense time looming on the US-Russia relations is not new but has prevailed even before the Edward Snowden affair. Here’s a brief account of ups and downs witnessed in US-Russia ties.
• In April 2010, President Barack Obama and then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the landmark disarmament treaty. The United States and Russia sealed a deal on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in March 2010, agreeing to cut their deployed nuclear arsenals by 30% while reducing the number of missiles, bombers and submarines on atomic patrol.
• In July 2010, US and Russia agreed to exchange 10 Russian spies who were arrested in the US on June 27 for four prisoners being held in Russia. This was one of the biggest prisoner swaps between both the countries since the Cold War.
• In February 2012, Hillary Clinton charged Russia and China with having “blood” on their hands for blocking a UN resolution seeking to impose sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
• This year in March, Russia had extended support to US-led effort at the UN to impose fresh financial penalties on North Korea following its third nuclear weapons test.
• In August 2013, President Obama canceled plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin after Moscow decided to grant asylum to the fugitive NSA leaker, Edward Snowden.