TODAY   |  August 08, 2013

US-Russian tensions rise after Obama cancels summit

President Obama’s last-minute decision to cancel an upcoming summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin could cause a hiccup in relations between the two nations just as the Winter Olympics in Sochi approach. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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>>> president obama is receiving support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for his decision to cancel an upcoming summit with vladimir putin . andrea mitchell has the latest on this story. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, matt. president obama 's relationship with vladimir putin was always frosty before edward snowden . now that snowden has been given asylum in russia , though, it's more like a deep freeze. this is not a match made in heaven. seen in what could charitably be called happier times, the obama/putin marriage could be headed for divorce or at least some serious counseling.

>> there have been times where they flip back into cold war thinking and mentality.

>> already divided over syria, this was one insult too many.

>> president obama could not be seen as going there hat in hand saying, after being rebuffed and having snowden refused to be turned over.

>> getting tough with the american president plays well at home. apparently so do his athletic exploits, real or possibly photoshopped. as russia gears up to host next year's winter olympics in soichi, it cracked down on gay rights . it's another potential split with the u.s.

>> i have no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgendered persons in ways that intimidate them or harmful to them.

>> some advocates are suggesting that the u.s. team stage a protest on opening night by waving a rainbow-coloredhand kerchief. at risk of being disqualified for breaking olympic rules.

>> we have athletes training for that moment for years, for decades. and to have this happen is probably incredibly heartbreaking for them.

>> still, the u.s. and russia are trying it resolve their problems despite the canceled summit. tomorrow, secretary of state kerry and defense secretary hagel will meet here in washington with their russian counterparts. be sure of one topic of conversation will be edward snowden 's asylum.