Topic: G20 Summit in St.Petersburg
Archive image showing former NSA intelligence contractor Edward Snowden and lawyer Anatoly Kucherena.© RIA Novosti. Ilya Pitalev
Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg© Photo Photo host agency/Anatoliy Medved
MOSCOW, September 6 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Moscow’s repeated refusal to hand Edward Snowden over to the US “has nothing to do with spying” – and called the fugitive intelligence contractor's intelligence leaks an “ephemeral crime.”
The Kremlin has said it would not extradite the former National Security Agency employee – wanted by the United States on espionage and other charges – citing the lack of an extradition agreement between Moscow and Washington. Moscow also pledged not to allow Snowden to continue his whistleblowing leaks while on Russian territory.
“Snowden has not been convicted, he has not committed crimes” in Russia, Putin said. “[He] is a separate topic, it has nothing to do with spying.”
Putin said that Moscow had repeatedly urged Washington to strike an extradition deal, but claimed that the US turned down the offer.
“We said, give us the [Russian] criminals on your territory, those who committed not some ephemeral crime connected to dissemination of information, but crimes against individuals such as murder and abduction,” Putin told journalists in Russia’s St. Petersburg.
He said that the US replied, “No, they are not our territory.” He added, “Why should we do [the extraditions] unilaterally? It’s not even correct to ask that question.”
In August, a top Russian prosecutor said that the US had left unanswered five of Russia’s extradition requests in recent years.
In May, Snowden, who worked for the National Security Agency, passed information to the media on US and British state-run surveillance programs. He found himself stranded in Russia en route to Cuba and was granted a year’s asylum in Russia last month after spending 40 days in a Moscow airport’s transit zone.
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