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.
Clinton blames China for allowing Snowden to flee
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that China has damaged its relationship with the US by allowing National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden to flee from Hong Kong, despite a request to arrest him for extradition. “That kind of action is not only detrimental to the US-China relationship but it sets a bad precedent that could unravel the intricate international agreements about how countries respect the laws and particularly the extradition treaties," said the former secretary of state in Los Angeles yesterday.
Snowden: I took contractor job to gather evidence
Edward Snowden took a job with a firm that provides contractors to the National Security Agency solely to gather evidence about US surveillance programs, he said to a newspaper.
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