Cold War II over Snowden? Obama may cancel Russia visit

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Washington, July 20: US President Barack Obama may cancel his scheduled trip to Russia in September over Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor seeking asylum in Moscow. The move would affect an already tense relation between Washington and Moscow, which once used to head confronting camps in world politics.

The cancellation of Obama's visit to Moscow where he was due to meet his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, is seen by observers as a blow to the latter's claim that such high-level visits validates his country's prestige. They also feel that the US is using the occasion to reflect its contradictory stand vis-a-vis Moscow on other contentious issues like Syria, Iran, missile defence and arms control.

Russia's internal development on Aleksei A Navalny, a prominent opposition leader, has also left the USA dejected. Navalny's conviction led Washington to express disappointment over the "suppression" of dissent in the Russian civil society.

The verdict on Navalny, who has been sent to five-year of imprisonment, comes just a week after the posthumous conviction of a lawyer who was investigating official corruption. The man, Sergei Magnitsy, was arrested and died in custody.

Moscow, too, has hit back at Washington saying the latter was exhibiting a double standard by complaining about Russian actions while aiming to prosecute Snowden, who exposed its surveillance programmes. Putin, however, said that he did not want that the conflict to harm the two nation's mutual interests.

OneIndia News

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