Russia’s foreign minister bluntly rejected US demands to extradite National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, saying that he has not crossed the Russian border.
Sergey Lavrov insisted that Russia has nothing to do with Snowden or his travel plans.
Lavrov wouldn’t say where is, but he lashed out angrily at Washington for demanding his extradition and warning of negative consequences if Moscow fails to comply.
China has also hit back at US accusations that it facilitated the departure of Snowden from Hong Kong saying they were ‘groundless and unacceptable’.
A foreign ministry spokeswoman said the Hong Kong government had handled the former US intelligence officer’s case in accordance with the law.
“He chose his itinerary on his own. We learnt about it ... from the media. He has not crossed the Russian border,” Lavrov told a joint news conference with Algeria’s foreign minister in Moscow.
“We consider the attempts to accuse the Russian side of violating US laws, and practically of involvement in a plot, to be absolutely groundless and unacceptable.”
Lavrov’s comments were the first by a senior Russian official since Snowden arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport from Hong Kong on Sunday, starting a cat-and-mouse chase that has frayed ties between Washington and Beijing and threatened US- Russian relations.
Washington has said it believe he is still in Moscow. He has not been seen by reporters at Sheremetyevo airport and is not known to have left the transit area.
An airport source confirmed that Snowden had arrived from Hong Kong on Sunday afternoon.
He said Snowden had been booked on a flight to Havana on Monday but had not got on board. He did not say where Snowden was now.
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