MOSCOW— Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says the Kremlin has had no role in the affairs of former U.S. National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden, and is not conspiring to help him evade prosecution in the United States.
Lavrov said Snowden independently chose his own route - apparently referring to Snowden’s reported departure from Hong Kong - emphasizing that Russia heard about it from the media.
Lavrov said Snowden has not crossed the border into Russia and the Kremlin thinks the attempts by the United States to make it seem like Russia is violating U.S. law are unfounded and unacceptable.
Lavrov's comments are the first official reaction from the Kremlin since Snowden allegedly flew from Hong Kong to a Moscow airport on Sunday. Reporters have not seen Snowden, but he is believed to be in the airport's transit zone.
Washington says Snowden is in Russia and has been pressuring Moscow to expel him and send him back home so he can face charges of espionage.
Lavrov said Russia is not violating any laws stressing that there are no legal grounds for Washington's behavior and claims.
Tensions between Moscow and Washington have risen lately. Both sides disagree on several important issues including missile defense, Syria, child adoptions and now Snowden.
Later Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States is not looking for a confrontation with Russia and called for "calm and reasonableness" in the Snowden situation.