MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. The Russia-US document on strategic stability being prepared for the upcoming visit by US President Barack Obama ahead of the G20 summit in September 2013 was not adopted due to Obama’s grudge over the situation with American whistleblower Eduard Snowden, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday.
"We do not get pleasure from what is taking place [in the Russian-US relations] and it was not us who started this," Russia’s top diplomat said at a meeting with representatives of the Association of European Businesses (AEB).
"When they say that all this is punishment for Ukraine and for Crimea, they are cunning. This is because all this began back under President Obama long before the United States started to implement its ‘color’ revolution project in Ukraine, it began from the time of Snowden," the Russian foreign minister said.
Just because of Russia’s refusal to extradite Snowden, Obama "imposed bans on some contacts and cancelled his visit on the eve of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg," Lavrov pointed out.
"By the way, an agreement was being prepared for that visit on how to further develop interaction on limiting strategic offensive armaments in the follow-up of the 2010 Prague Treaty," Russia’s top diplomat said.
"A declaration was largely agreed and it formulated the agenda for long years ahead in the sphere of strategic stability," Lavrov emphasized.
"Due to his inability to keep from bearing his personal grudge, the then-US president crossed out a very important document that had all the chances to be quite and quite needed today," Russia’s top diplomat said.
Edward Snowden is a computer specialist who worked as a contractor for the US National Security Agency and leaked details of its mass surveillance programs to the press in 2013. He fled to Hong Kong and subsequently flew to Moscow in order to head to Ecuador.
However, he remained in Russia as the US revoked his passport. Snowden asked more than 20 countries, including Russia, for political asylum. On August 1, 2014, he was granted a residence permit in Russia and has since stayed in the country. He faces years of jail time in the US on espionage charges.
US administration officials have said on many occasions that they viewed Snowden as a traitor and were not going to pardon him, because he seriously damaged US national security interests.