By Caren Bohan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A senior Democratic senator said on Sunday that the U.S.-Russia relationship had become “poisonous” and urged President Barack Obama to consider moving next month’s Group of 20 summit away from the Russian city of St. Petersburg.
Charles Schumer, the U.S. Senate’s third ranking Democrat and a close Obama ally, accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to antagonize the United States by granting American fugitive Edward Snowden asylum for one year.
“President Putin is behaving like a schoolyard bully,” Schumer said on the CBS television talk show “Face the Nation.” “In my experience, I’ve learned unless you stand up to that bully, they ask for more and more and more.”
Schumer said he also would call on Obama to “urge our allies, if it were possible,” to try to move the G20 summit from St. Petersburg to another country.
The White House has left unclear whether Obama would stop in Moscow after Russia granted asylum to Snowden, a former intelligence contractor wanted in the United States for leaking details of government surveillance programs.
Ryan, a former vice presidential candidate and influential voice within his party, accused the Obama administration of appeasement with its policy, known as the “reset,” begun in 2009, of trying to improve U.S.-Russia relations.
(Reporting by Caren Bohan; Editing by Bill Trott)