Vladimir Putin pulls out of planned visit to the United States

 

Russia's President Vladimir Putin will skip a planned visit to the United States this month for a key global summit and a much-anticipated meeting with President Barack Obama, the Kremlin confirmed today, as he faced pressure from protests and opposition criticism at home.

The White House announced Wednesday that Putin is unable to join the other leaders of the Group of Eight industrial nations meeting outside Washington on May 18-19. The Kremlin said Putin needs to finish work setting up his new government.

Instead, Russia will send Dmitry Medvedev, the former president and new prime minister, to the G8 summit.

The Kremlin said that Obama expressed "understanding" for Putin's cancellation, and the two are now due to meet at another global summit in Mexico in mid-June.

Putin took power this week, returning after four years to a post he had previously held for two terms. He made sharp criticism of the United States a central theme in his election, but it is not clear whether he will pull back from Medvedev's efforts at cooperation with the U.S. in several areas.

Interviewed on Thursday by the Ekho Moskvy radio station, Putin's aide Arkady Dvorkovich rejected suggestions that Putin is avoiding the U.S. visit because of potential questions about human rights violations in Russia.

"I don't think that Putin is scared of anything linked to politics," Dvorkovich said. "This is laughable. These are just idle thoughts that have nothing to do with reality."

Putin's inauguration on Monday was marred by violence at an opposition rally the day before when protesters tried to move to another, unsanctioned, location. Police dispersed the rally and detained hundreds.

Since Sunday, hundreds of protesters have been staging flash mobs across the city with police breaking up and regularly detaining many of them. Two key leaders of this "people's stroll", Alexei Navalny and Sergei Udaltsov, were sentenced to 15 days in jail on Wednesday for disobeying police orders.

Separately, many opposition groups have decried Putin's decision to provide a logistics facility in central Russia to NATO as a betrayal of national interests. The facility in Ulyanovsk is to support the U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan

Russia does not border on Afghanistan. But the two countries are separated only by former Soviet Central Asian republics that have porous borders with Russia and Afghanistan.

Putin is also facing criticism for Russia's impending membership in the World Trade Organization. Hailed by some as a long-awaited achievement, the WTO membership have caused concerns in Russia that the country's new trade status will hurt heavily subsidized industries, including agriculture.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee