News / USA

Putin: Relations with US More Important than Snowden Dispute

Transit passengers eat at a cafe with a TV screen with a news program showing a report on Edward Snowden, Sheremetyevo airport, Moscow, June 26, 2013.Transit passengers eat at a cafe with a TV screen with a news program showing a report on Edward Snowden, Sheremetyevo airport, Moscow, June 26, 2013.
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Transit passengers eat at a cafe with a TV screen with a news program showing a report on Edward Snowden, Sheremetyevo airport, Moscow, June 26, 2013.
Transit passengers eat at a cafe with a TV screen with a news program showing a report on Edward Snowden, Sheremetyevo airport, Moscow, June 26, 2013.
VOA News
Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow's relations with the United States are more important than a dispute over fugitive U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

Putin's comments Wednesday come a day after Snowden applied for temporary asylum in Russia. The former National Security Agency contractor has been holed up in the transit zone of a Moscow airport since June 23.

The U.S. wants Russia to send him home to face charges of espionage related to the release of classified information on U.S. intelligence programs.

Putin did not say whether Russia would grant Snowden's request. But he said bilateral relations are "far more important than squabbles surrounding the work of security services."

He also reiterated his stance that Snowden is welcome to stay in Russia, but only if he stops leaking information that is damaging to the United States.

White House spokesman Jay Carney on Tuesday said there is "ample legal justification" for Moscow to return Snowden to the United States to face charges of "serious felonies." He said he does not want U.S.-Russia relations to be affected by the dispute.

Snowden applied Tuesday to stay temporarily in Russia, though he still wants to eventually travel to Latin America, where leftist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua have offered him asylum. But he is blocked from leaving Moscow as the U.S. has revoked his passport.

The 30-year-old has leaked a flurry of top-secret documents that have revealed U.S. domestic and international spying operations.

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Comments
     
by: Pon from: Japan
July 17, 2013 9:55 AM
How naive Snowden is! He should've known better about the real world than to do such a childish justice. He must have a dream world in the brain where grass-eating Lions live with a lot of flowers. There is no treatment for such a child-adult except growing-up. What a pity...

by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
July 17, 2013 8:58 AM
Certainly, Mr. Snowden’s rhetoric on priority of human rights over top secret information that he had come across while working in the CIA doesn’t hold water and is misplaced. He looks very immature with his mind confused over his legal obligations. He wasn’t a human rights activist before willingly filling the position in the CIA and he isn’t now.

He broke his written commitments to observe confidentiality while being employed in the USA. So he should face the consequences of his reckless actions over stealing and leaking top secret documents. In this regard, Mr. Putin’s opinion that Moscow's relations with the United States are more important than a dispute over fugitive U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden sounds logical and pragmatic and should be welcomed by any sober-minded and rule of law-observing person. What an example would Mr. Putin have given for hundreds people already employed in Russia with top secret information if he had viewed Mr. Snowden as a hero and in different light?

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