Friday 17 November 2017

Putin accuses US of trapping Snowden in Russia

Tom Parfitt Moscow

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of trapping Edward Snowden in Moscow and "spooking" other countries that wanted to give him refuge.

Asked about the future of the US intelligence whistleblower, who has been living in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo Airport for the past three weeks, Mr Putin said: "How do I know? It's his life, his fate. He came to our territory without invitation. And we weren't his final destination.

"He was flying in transit to other states. But the moment he was in the air. . . our American partners, in fact, blocked his further flight.

"They have spooked all the other countries, nobody wants to take him and in that way, in fact, they have . . . blocked him on our territory."

Mr Snowden (30) flew in to Sheremetyevo from Hong Kong.

On Friday, Mr Snowden, pictured, said he was applying for temporary asylum in Russia, ultimately hoping to seek refuge from US espionage charges in South America.

Mr Putin has indicated Mr Snowden could stay in Russia if he did nothing to "harm our US partners", which he thinks the fugitive is starting to accept.

Mr Putin was busy yesterday with a media event which was modest by the stunt-happy Russian leader's standards – a half-hour trip to the bottom of the Gulf of Finland to see a shipwreck.

Mr Putin rode a small submersible craft 60 metres down to see the remains of the naval frigate Oleg, which sank in 1869.

Mr Putin's penchant for stunts has included a trip to the bottom of Lake Baikal, the world's deepest lake, and a scuba dive in which he brought up pottery shards that his spokesman later admitted had been planted. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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