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No Obama Visit Planned Before G20, Kremlin Says

U.S. President Barack Obama meeting with then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in 2009. Pete Souza

The Kremlin said Friday that it did not expect U.S. President Barack Obama to visit Russia before the Group of 20 summit in September.

President Vladimir Putin sent Obama an invitation in November after the U.S. president won a second term. Obama accepted, saying the dates for the trip would be confirmed through diplomatic channels.

The Kremlin currently expects Obama to attend the G20 summit of world leaders in St. Petersburg in September and not to make an additional trip, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.

“We’re expecting [Obama to come] for the G20,” Peskov told Interfax. “At the moment, no separate visit by Obama is on the agenda. The president has a standing invitation but without any specific date attached to it.”

In an article published Friday, an unidentified U.S. diplomat told Kommersant that Obama was unlikely to visit Russia this summer because no breakthrough in negotiations on nuclear arms reductions and anti-ballistic missile talks was expected by then.

Moscow had hoped the U.S. president would make a separate visit in June or July before participating in the G20 summit, the Kommersant report said.

Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the State Duma’s International Affairs Committee, said he too did not expect Obama to come before September, citing the lack of evident progress on bilateral issues.

“Obama, apparently, won’t come to Russia before G20 in September, since there are many disputes and no visible area for a breakthrough,” he tweeted Friday. “There’s no program for a new ‘reset.’”

Putin skipped the G8 summit hosted by the U.S. in May last year, with some observers citing disagreement on anti-ballistic missile issues as a possible reason behind the decision.

Putin, who had just been sworn in for his third term in the Kremlin, told Obama that he would not attend the summit because he would be busy finalizing Cabinet appointments.

U.S.-Russian ties have been strained over the last year as Russia has taken steps to minimize U.S. influence in the country, such as the expulsion of the Moscow office of USAID, the United States Agency for International Development.

In recent months, both countries have taken tit-for-tat measures following the passage of the U.S. Magnitsky Act, which seeks to punish Russians implicated in human rights violations. In response, Russia passed a law that includes a ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian orphans.

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