US senator calls Russian president Vladimir Putin a 'schoolyard bully' for refusing to hand over NSA leaker Edward Snowden


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The Independent Online

A US senator has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of behaving like a "schoolyard bully" over his decision to ignore extradition requests from the US government over NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Senator Chuck Schumer said the relationship between America and Russia had become "poisonous" and urged President Barack Obama to move the September Group of 20 summit away from St. Petersburg and hold it in a different country.

“President Putin is behaving like a schoolyard bully,” Mr Schumer told CBS television talk show Face the Nation. "In my experience, I've learned unless you stand up to that bully, they ask for more and more and more.

“He's always going out of his way, President Putin is, to seem to poke us in the eye, whether it's in Iran, Syria, now with Snowden - so I would urge the president not to go forward with the bilateral meeting next month. That would give Putin the kind of respect he doesn't deserve at this point in time."

He accused the Russian President of antagonizing the US by granting Snowden asylum for one year. "The relationship between the United States and Russia ... is more poisonous than at any time since the Cold War".

Mr Schumer said he also would call on Obama to “urge our allies, if it were possible,” to try to move the G20 summit from St. Petersburg to another country.

Some members of Congress have also suggested boycotting next year's Winter Olympics in the southern Russian city of Sochi.

On Thursday he first expressed his dismay at Russia's decision to a news conference at the Capitol in Washington.

“Russia has stabbed us in the back, and each day that Mr. Snowden is allowed to roam free is another twist of the knife,” he said.