Putin blames U.S. for Snowden's prolonged stay in Russia

Putin blames U.S. for Snowden's prolonged stay in Russia

Moscow : Russia | Jul 16, 2013 at 12:21 AM PDT
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Edward Snowden Must Quit Leaking Secrets: Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he hopes that wanted U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden will leave his country, but said the only reason he has not been able to do so is because of the United States.

Addressing an audience of students on Monday, Putin said that the United States is doing a great job at frightening countries that want to grant asylum to Snowden and for the same reason he is still trapped at the Moscow airport.

“He arrived on our territory without an invitation,” Putin said. “He didn’t fly to us; he flew in transit to other countries. But only when it became known that he was in the air, our American partners, in fact, blocked him from flying further. He added that the Americans "themselves scared all the other countries such that no one wants to take him, and thereby blockaded him on our territory."

On Friday, Snowden announced that he would soon be making a formal request for asylum in Russia. Putin reiterated his earlier stance that Russia does not want Snowden to harm the United States and only under that condition, he may stay in the country, to which the students laughed out loud.

"He said, 'No.'—You laugh but he was serious. He said, 'No, I want to continue my activities, I want to fight for human rights, I think that the U.S. is violating certain international norms, is intruding into private life and my goal is to fight against this.' 'We said, 'Fine, but then we won't be involved. We have our own things to fight against.'," said Putin.

Putin turned down the prospect that he will be handing over Snowden to the United States, because, according to him, the U.S. would do no such thing if it receives a similar request from the Kremlin state.

Mr. Putin told the students that Snowden, who in the beginning refused to stop leaking classified information concerning U.S. national security, is now "starting to change his position, though the situation isn't completely clear yet." The president reiterated that he'd rather let Mr. Snowden go elsewhere. "As soon as he's allowed to go somewhere else, I hope he will do that," Mr. Putin said.

Putin’s comments came as a response to a question asked by a student, who appeared interested in knowing the fate of the spy if he enters the mainland.

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Russia's President Vladimir Putin walks during the closing ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Russia's President Vladimir Putin walks during the closing ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Wendy Zachary is based in Texas, Texas, United States of America, and is a Reporter on Allvoices.
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