MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's Vladimir Putin may not be embracing the idea of giving asylum to Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked details of two U.S. government surveillance programs.
He says if Snowden is going to get asylum in Russia, he'll have to stop leaking U.S. secrets -- but he believes Snowden has no intention of doing that.
According to Russia's Interfax news agency, Snowden did, in fact, request asylum, hours before Putin made his remarks. Putin didn't mention that, and his spokesman isn't saying what the response might be.
Snowden has been stuck in the transit zone of the Moscow airport since he arrived from Hong Kong more than a week ago. The U.S. has annulled his passport. Ecuador, where he had hoped to get asylum, has been coy about whether it would take him.
Putin today insisted that Snowden isn't a Russian agent, and that Russian security agencies haven't contacted him.
The newspaper Izvestia speculated today that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who is attending a summit of gas exporting nations in Moscow, will take Snowden with him when he leaves. The paper cited a Kremlin source as saying Putin will discuss Snowden with Maduro during a meeting tomorrow.
257-w-33-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent, with sound of Russian President Vladimir Putin and and President Barack Obama)--A Rusian news agency says NSA leaker Edward Snowden has asked for political asylum in Russia. AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports from the Pentagon. (1 Jul 2013)
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APPHOTO MOSB149: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a news conference after the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in the Kremlin in Moscow, Monday, July 1, 2013. Russia's President Vladimir Putin says that National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden will have to stop leaking U.S. secrets if he wants to get asylum in Russia, something he says Snowden doesn't want to do. Putin, speaking at a news conference Monday, insisted that Snowden isn't a Russian agent and that Russian security agencies haven't contacted him. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev) (1 Jul 2013)
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