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Obama cancels meeting with Putin amid Russia tensions

President Barack Obama has canceled a planned meeting in Moscow with Russia's President Vladimir Putin—a diplomatic snub that follows tensions over NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

The meeting had been scheduled on the sidelines of September's G-20 summit of world economic leaders, taking place in St Petersburg, Russia.

Authorities in Moscow last week granted temporary asylum to Snowden, who is wanted by U.S. authorities for leaking classified intelligence information to newspapers.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama
Alexei Nikolsky | AFP | Getty Images
Russia's President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama

That decision infuriated Washington, and prompted the White House to indicate it was "evaluating the utility" of the September meeting. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., last week called on the U.S. "to fundamentally rethink our relationship with Putin's Russia."

There have also been tensions between Moscow and Washington over missile defenses and how to deal with the civil war in Syria.

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The decision to cancel the meeting also came hours after Obama criticized Russia's policies toward gays and lesbians in an interview with "The Tonight Show" host Jay Leno.

Obama told Leno he would take a tough stance with Russia at the summit.

"There are times when they slip back into Cold War thinking and Cold War mentality," he said of the Russian government. "What I continually say to them and to President Putin, that's the past."

—By NBC News' Alastair Jamieson. Chuck Todd contributed to this report.

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