Russian President Vladimir Putin wished former U.S. President George W. Bush a speedy and complete recovery Thursday after receiving news of his heart surgery. The gesture is being interpreted by some as a swipe at President Barack Obama, who recently canceled a meeting with Putin, according to The Hill.
Putin’s message was sent via telegram following a procedure Bush underwent to implant a stent, opening a blocked artery discovered during a routine physical.
The White House announced on Wednesday that Obama would not participate in talks with Putin, citing Russian authorities’ decision to grant National Security Agency leaker, Edward Snowden, temporary asylum, according to The Hill.
“When you have summits like these, you want the kind of progress prior to them to be sufficient enough to merit a meeting of the leaders,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Thursday, The Hill reported.
While the Bush-Putin relationship soured late in Bush’s presidency, The Hill noted that Bush was complimentary toward Putin early on and invited the Russian leader to visit his Texas ranch.
Carney noted that Obama also reached out to his predecessor to extend him well-wishes, saying Obama was “glad to hear the procedure went well and that former President Bush is recovering.”
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