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Obama cancels visit with Putin. Why?

President Obama cancels a planned visit with President Vladimir Putin during a G-20 summit next month. Obama's snub was in response to Russia's decision to grant temporary asylum to Edward Snowden. Why US frustration with Russia is rising.

By Associated Press / August 7, 2013

President Barack Obama meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ireland in June. But Obama just canceled plans to meet again next month in Moscow.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File

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Los Angeles

President Barack Obama is canceling plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next month — a rare diplomatic snub.

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The move is retribution for Russia's decision to grant temporary asylum to Edward Snowden, who is accused of leaking highly secretive details about National Security Agency surveillance programs. It also reflects growing U.S. frustration with Russia on several issues, including missile defense and human rights.

A top White House official says Obama still attends to plan the Group of 20 economic summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, but has no plans to meet with Putin there one-on-one.

Obama said in an interview Tuesday that he was "disappointed" by Russia's move to grant Snowden asylum for one year. He said it also reflected the "underlying challenges" the U.S. faces in dealing with Moscow.

"There have been times where they slip back into Cold War thinking and a Cold War mentality," Obama said in an interview on NBC's "The Tonight Show."

Obama and Putin last met in June on the sidelines of the Group of 8 summit in Northern Ireland.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. told the Russian government Wednesday morning that Obama believed "it would be more constructive to postpone the summit until we have more results from our shared agenda."

Instead of visiting Putin in Moscow, the president will add a stop in Sweden to his early September travel itinerary.

White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Russia's decision last week to defy the U.S. only worsened an already troubled relationship. And with few signs that progress would be made during the Moscow summit on other agenda items, Rhodes said the president decided to cancel the talks.

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