Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is disappointed by U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to cancel a bilateral meeting in Moscow this week after Russia granted temporary asylum to U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.
Putin made the remark Tuesday in an interview with the Associated Press and Russia's state-owned Channel 1 television, referring to a meeting both he and Obama had planned before heading to St. Petersburg for a G-20 summit later in the week.
The former KGB officer accused U.S. intelligence officials of shoddy work in handling the Snowden affair, saying the United States could have intercepted Snowden while he was in transit from Hong Kong to Russia in June, but instead pressured other countries not to accept him.
Putin also denied that Russia has anti-gay policies, adding Obama is welcome to meet with gays while in Russia for the G-20 summit. He said he may even meet with homosexual groups himself. And he said gay athletes who exhibit gay pride symbols at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, will not be punished.
And he criticized those who point to his and Obama's body language to say the two leaders have a difficult relationship. He said Obama is easy to talk to, noting that the American president makes his positions clear.