Snowden issue 'not on Putin's agenda'

2013-07-26 17:57
Russian President Vladimir Putin. (File, AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (File, AP)

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Moscow - The fate of US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden is not on President Vladimir Putin's agenda as the fugitive stranded at a Moscow airport has made no direct approach to the Russian leader, the Kremlin said on Friday.

Snowden, who the United States wants to put on trial for leaking details of a massive surveillance programme, has been marooned at Sheremetyevo airport for over a month without ever crossing the Russian border.

He has asked Russia for asylum and wants to live in the country. But Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov indicated that Putin was in no mood to fast-track the issue.

"Looking at the president's schedule you can conclude that he is not cancelling anything for the sake of Snowden," Peskov said, quoted by Russian news agencies.

"As far as I know, Snowden has not made any request that would require examination by the head of state. Correspondingly, the question has not stood and does not stand on the agenda," Peskov added.

Airport stay could last months

He said that Putin was not involved in communications with the American side over the issue, which he stressed was being handled by the head of the FBI Robert Mueller and the head of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Bortnikov.

There had been expectations that Snowden could emerge this week from the transit zone of the airport with a document allowing him freedom of movement in Russia while his application is considered. But he and the document never materialised.

The head of a civic panel that advises the Russian migration service warned on Friday that Snowden could still stay half a year in Sheremetyevo while his asylum application is considered.

"He could stay in Sheremetyevo for as long as his legal position is not clarified," Vladimir Volokh told the Interfax news agency.

"The three months [asylum procedure] could be extended by another three months. So he could be in the transit zone for a maximum of six months."

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Read more on:    edward snowden  |  vladimir putin  |  us  |  russia  |  privacy  |  espionage
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