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MOSCOW, July 15 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday said US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden was still in the transit area of a Moscow airport because Washington had “blocked” him there by intimidating countries that had been ready to grant him asylum.
“He arrived on our territory without an invitation. He wasn’t flying to us. He was on a transit flight to other countries,” Putin said in St. Petersburg, adding that the United States had “intimidated other countries, [so that] nobody wants him.”
“That’s how they [the US] blocked him on our territory,” Putin said. “Some gift for us.”
Snowden, who publicized details of extensive US government surveillance programs allegedly targeting European dignitaries as well as millions of American citizens, arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23. He has since remained in geopolitical limbo in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo Airport, while trying to find a country to grant him asylum.
On Monday, Putin added that Russia would not give permanent asylum to Snowden because he refused to stop a “fight for human rights” that may strain Moscow’s ties with Washington.
The Russian leader cited Snowden as saying, “I want my work to go on. I want to fight for human rights. I think the US is breaking certain legal standards, international [rules], and is intruding into private lives. My aim for now is to fight it.”
But, according to Putin, the Russian side replied, ‘Go on without is, we have [other] things to fight for.’”
Putin had said earlier that Moscow would not extradite Snowden to the United States, where he could face the death penalty. But the Kremlin has also tried to keep its distance from the case, emphasizing that it is a human rights issue.
Last Friday, at a meeting with human rights activists in the transit area, Snowden announced his intention to apply for political asylum in Russia, adding that he was ready to comply with Moscow’s conditions, including not causing harm to the United States.
The White House immediately criticized Russia for providing a “propaganda platform” for Snowden’s announcement.
Last month, Putin said Moscow would consider granting Snowden asylum under the condition that he stop his work aimed at “damaging our American partners,” an option Snowden initially rejected, but apparently accepted after failing to secure safe passage to Latin American countries that had offered him asylum – Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
(updates with Putin's quote on permanent asylum for Snowden)
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- hobbitofnythe talks are on going...22:14, 15/07/2013Last friday Snowden try the line, I will not harm the USA any more because I have already given the documents to reporters. I can not control the future release of the documents. Putin said back no more releases to harm the USA. Snowden has been contacting the reporters to stop releases. One reporter stated Snowden did not want him to release documents that show the full structure and workings of the NSA. Putin today tells Snowden, you are moving in the right direction. You still have some outstanding issues. If Snowden wants to stay in Russia he will need to follow President Putin's condition to stay. He can not just walk around it.
If they do not have it, I am sure Russia will soon have the complete set of documents.
Once Putin's condition is being followed, I am sure Snowden's application will appear. For now Russia will not take the application pending Snowden meeting the condition to stay.
- LocoIvan“Some gift for us.”22:42, 15/07/2013LoL; Ohh Vlad, you milked the issue for all its ‘mind game’ playing narcissitic worth and now it has become a vexation!. :(
‘Edward Snowden seems like a bright chap. So he will probably have noticed the irony of voicing his complaints about persecution by the US legal system from the confines of Moscow airport. There are few governments in the world that abuse the law, for political purposes, with the ruthlessness and cynicism of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
The ironies do not stop there. Mr Snowden’s original motivation, as a whistleblower, was to expose over-mighty American spies. Yet Russia is a state that is effectively run by its intelligence services. Mr Putin is a former KGB operative. Spies and their cronies dominate his inner circle. Indeed Russia – which has become Mr Snowden’s temporary protector – is the perfect illustration of his argument that a state in thrall to its intelligence services would be a frightening place.’(FinancialTimes;15/07/2013)
- jg(no title)01:15, 16/07/2013Perhaps Russia should quietly put Snowden on a military transport to Venezuela. Snowden has indicated that he wants to end up in South America, Venezuela has said they will take him and this would get Russia out of the argument.
- GarryBWhy03:53, 17/07/2013What is the rush?
Snowden is safe unless we have a repeat of the chinese embassy incident and a B-2 tries to hit a target in Afghanistan using old maps that show their target in a Russian airport.
Putin wont care that this is dragging out and might actually result in real debate about the hypocrasy of the west talking about human rights yet totally ignoring them through the use of the CIA and NSA... the former far more active in starting wars and supporting brutal dictators during the cold war than the KGB ever was.
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Edward Snowden is not an isolated case but part of an independent community which is increasingly resolute in asserting itself and rejecting “raison d’Etat” and behind-the-scenes manipulation. The direct results of Snowden’s disclosures are most clearly evident in the context of Russian-American relations. The Snowden case has humiliated Europe, which Putin took the opportunity to remind them of.