Two American officials have called on President Barack Obama to call off his upcoming meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin after Moscow granted asylum to American whistleblower Edward Snowden.
“I would urge the president to cancel the bilateral summit he’s having with Putin,” Sen. Charles Schumer told CBS News on Sunday.
“President Putin’s behaving like a schoolyard bully, and in my experience, I’ve learned that unless you stand up to that bully, they ask for more and more and more.”
The two presidents are scheduled to meet later this month before the G20 summit, which is set to be held in Russia next month.
The US-Russia relationship “is more poisonous than at any time since the Cold War because of all of this,” and if Obama meets with Putin, it’s giving him “the kind of respect he doesn’t deserve at this time,” Schumer said.
According to the US senator, the Obama administration should put pressure on its allies to move the G20 summit out of St. Petersburg.
“For once…I agree with Chuck Schumer on that,” Rep. Paul Ryan said. “I think President Putin thinks he can get away with pushing around this administration because the administration has given appeasement feelings that they can do this.”
“[Snowden’s asylum] is a stab in the back and a slap in the face,” Ryan said. “I actually agree with Sen. Schumer - that has to come with some consequences, and I think the administration should proceed just like we now discussed.”
The United States expressed anger after Putin granted asylum to National Security Agency leaker Snowden, who leaked information on top-secret spying programs run by the US government.
"We are extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step," White House spokesman Jay Carney said. "We are reevaluating the utility of a summit in light of this and other issues."