The White House will announce "in the coming days" whether President Obama plans to scrap planned bilateral talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, press secretary Jay Carney said Monday.
The Obama Administration is upset with the Kremlin after Russian officials last week extended a yearlong temporary asylum to Edward Snowden, the former Defense contractor who leaked details about top-secret National Security Agency programs. The decision allowed Snowden to leave the international transit zone of the Moscow airport, where he had been holed up for more than a month.
The talks, slated for early September, were to have preceded the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg. White House officials have previously said that Obama hoped to discuss a range of issues with the Russian leader, including nuclear arms, Syria and Iran.
The White House spokesman also said American authorities would "obviously" be in contact to express "our extreme disappointment with this situation."
"Mr. Snowden is not a whistle-blower. He is accused of leaking classified information," Carney said. "He should be returned to the United States."
The U.S. has also signaled that other, lower-level talks between U.S. Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryKerry: Trump can’t instantly undo Obama actions ‘All or nothing’ leaves us nothing Kerry: Trump comments on German chancellor ‘inappropriate’ MORE, Defense Secretary Chuck HagelChuck HagelWho will temper Trump after he takes office? Hagel: I’m ‘encouraged’ by Trump’s Russia outreach Want to 'drain the swamp'? Implement regular order MORE, and their Russian counterparts are "up in the air," an official told Reuters.
Lawmakers last week expressed outrage over Russia's decision to extend Snowden asylum.
"Russia has stabbed us in the back, and each day that Mr. Snowden is allowed to roam free is another twist of the knife," said Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerSenate Democrats brace for Trump era CBO: 18 million could lose coverage after ObamaCare repeal Week ahead: Trump's health pick takes the hot seat MORE (D-N.Y.) in a statement.