Putin Cancels Visit To U.S., Meeting With Obama

Russia’s newly reinstalled President Vladimir Putin will be too busy with affairs at home to make a planned visit to the United States this month, where he was to have a high-profile tête-à-tête with President Obama and attend the G8 summit.

In his place, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who swapped places with Putin in recent elections, will go to the global economic summit.

“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 G-8 Summit at Camp David on May 18-19,” according to a Kremlin statement.

The White House, which said it understands the need to cancel, said that Putin and Obama would meet instead next month at the G20 summit in Mexico.

Putin’s inauguration on Monday was overshadowed by violence the day before at an opposition rally. Since then, The Associated Press says:

Hundreds of protesters have been staging flash mobs across [Moscow] with police breaking up and regularly detaining many of them.

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.

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