Putin snubs Obama, will miss G8 summit"Russia"
By Julian Pecquet
05/09/12 06:53 PM ET
Russian President Vladimir Putin won't be attending next weekend's G8 summit, the White House announced Wednesday evening.
Putin, who was sworn in on Monday, broke the news to the American president during a phone call commemorating the end of World War 2 in Europe. He said Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev will go in his stead.
“Noting his responsibilities to finalize Cabinet appointments in the new Russian government, President Putin expressed his regret that he would be unable to attend the G8 Summit at Camp David on May 18-19,” the White House said in a statement. “President Obama expressed his understanding of President Putin’s decision and welcomed the participation of Russian Prime Minister Medvedev at the G8 Summit.”
Newly elected French President Francois Hollande by contrast is slated to attend, even though he will be inaugurated May 15 – just three days before the start of the summit.
Obama and Putin agreed to hold a bilateral meeting on the margins of the G20 Summit in Mexico next month, the White House said.
The two nations have sought to “reset” their relationship under Obama, notably with the passage of the new START Treaty on nuclear disarmament. Relations remain frosty on a number of issues, however, including Russia's opposition to UN sanctions against Syria and U.S. missile-defense plans for eastern and central Europe; last week, Russian defense official Nikolai Makarov warned that Russia would use pre-emptive force if the United States goes forward with its plans to deploy elements of a missile defense shield in Poland by 2018.