The US reacted with anger and disappointment on Thursday after Russia granted NSA leaker Edward Snowden asylum, letting him leave his airport home of over a month.
White House press secretary Jay Carney expressed “extreme disappointment” over the development and indicated a possible summit meeting may be the first casualty as a result.
In an escalation of tensions reminiscent of cold war days, President Barack Obama may skip meeting President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in St Petersburg in September.
The US was “evaluating the utility” of that meeting, Carney said. Also in jeopardy was a 2+2 meeting of the defense and state department secretaries with their Russian counterparts.
Moscow’s decision to grant Snowden asylum is also being seen as a rebuff to Obama specially after he had personally called Putin to make the case for the US.
Adding to what is being seen here as a cold war-style low in relations between the two countries, were US lawmakers demanding strong retaliatory action.
Democrat Robert Menendez, chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, called the development a “setback to US-Russia relations”.