The move marks a stark low point in US - Russian relations and raised questions about the " reset " in ties that Obama embarked on in his first term to try to gain more diplomatic cooperation, only to find that deep differences remained.
" Following a careful review begun in July, we have reached the conclusion that there is not enough recent progress in our bilateral agenda with Russia to hold a US - Russia summit in early September, " White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.
The Russian government expressed disappointment at the decision, which means Obama will skip Moscow talks with Putin but still attend a G20 summit in St. Petersburg Sept. 5-6. Obama will stop in Sweden on Sept. 4 instead of visiting Moscow.
" It is clear that the decision is due to the situation around the former U. S. special services employee Snowden, which we did not create, " Putin ' s foreign policy aide, Yuri Ushakov, told reporters in Moscow.
He said Russia ' s invitation for Obama to visit Russia still stood.
Beyond Snowden, however, a long list of grievances separate the two governments, topped by Russia ' s support for Syrian President Bashar al - Assad in Syria ' s civil war.
" The real issue here is that the US - Russian relationship has been adrift since 2011, " said Andrew Weiss, a Russian expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. " Snowden is the obvious sore point and source of great public attention. But the relationship has been sagging and unmoored for some time now. "
Obama and White House officials had debated whether to go ahead with the Moscow visit to give Obama the opportunity to outline his concerns to Putin face - to - face, but decided instead to express US displeasure publicly by canceling the summit altogether. A June meeting between the two leaders on the fringes of a G8 summit in Northern Ireland was testy.