Putin on Monday also accused Washington of preventing the fugitive, US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, from leaving Russia after he arrived from Hong Kong on June 23. “He arrived on our territory uninvited, he did not fly to us,” Russian news agencies quoted Putin as saying.
“They themselves [Washington] scared off all the other countries, no one wants to take him, and therefore they essentially themselves trapped him on our territory,” added the president, according to the agencies.
Meanwhile, Putin said on Monday that he saw signs that Snowden was shifting towards stopping “political activity” directed against the United States.
Putin, who previously refused to hand Snowden over to the US authorities, said the fugitive’s situation remained unresolved after Washington had blocked his further movements.
Asked on an island in the Gulf of Finland about Snowden’s future, Putin said: “How do I know? It’s his life, his fate.”
Putin has stated Snowden should stop activity harmful to the United States if he wanted refuge in Russia, and said he saw signs that the former contractor with the National Security Agency was moving in this direction.
“As soon as there is an opportunity for him to move elsewhere, I hope he will do that. The conditions for granting political asylum are known to him. And judging by his latest actions, he is shifting his position. But the situation has not been clarified yet,” Putin said.
Breaking weeks of silence, Snowden on Friday said at a Moscow airport where he has been camped since late June that he was seeking temporary asylum in Russia before he can safely travel to Latin America. Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua have offered him asylum. – AFP, Reuters