The recent nuclear summit held in Chicago was praised for its gathering of world nuclear powers to discuss potential nuclear threats, however there was a noticeably empty seat at the table this year. Russia decided that it would not be attending, saying that they saw little value in the summit and that they would rather focus on an upcoming summit held by the IAEA and the UN. But it is likely that that was only a fraction of the reason behind the decision, as tensions continue to frost over.
Russia and US relations have been on the decline, following a slew of issues that have brought divisions between the two superpowers. From Crimea to Syria, it is no surprise that the leaders of both countries have spent less and less face time together. In fact the decision not to attend does have one obvious consequence, and that is the anticlimactic end of what the Obama administration began. This taking of the winds from the sails is mostly just another snub that Putin and friends have decided to use to help play down the relationship with the US. Though it might not stop there.
It is likely that Russia is attempting to dodge current conversation on the disarming and neutralization of nuclear weapons from its current stockpiles, a conversation that comes up often at these sorts of summits. Following the US decision to modernize almost every facet of its own arsenal, it is foreseeable that Russia would not be overly enthusiastic about putting itself in a position that empowers the US opinion on nuclear disarmament. Though this summits topic was on the threats concerning nuclear terrorism, Russia is most likely looking to drag this kind of conversation back to neutral ground in the attempt to keep the US in check. While Russia said that they would continue to work with the US to counter these threats through other venues, the decision to skip this summit was just another blow the Putin regime has landed in its attempt to stick it to the US.