Russian President Vladimir Putin: Edward Snowden Won't Be Extradited

By: CBS/AP (Posted by Amanda Lanum)
By: CBS/AP (Posted by Amanda Lanum)

NAANTALI, Finland (CBS/AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin says that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden is in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and will not be extradited to the United States.

Putin said that Snowden hasn't crossed the Russian border and is free to travel elsewhere.

Speaking on a visit to Finland Tuesday, he dismissed U.S. accusations against Moscow over the case as "ravings and rubbish," according to Reuters, adding that Russian security agencies "didn't work and aren't working" with Snowden. He gave no more details.

Commenting on a U.S. request to extradite him, Putin said that Russia doesn't have an extradition agreement with the U.S. and thus wouldn't meet the U.S. request.

He voiced hope that Snowden will depart as quickly as possible and that his stopover at Moscow's airport wouldn't affect bilateral ties.

Earlier Tuesday, Russia's foreign minister also rejected U.S. demands to extradite Snowden.

Sergey Lavrov said that Snowden hadn't crossed the Russian border and insisted that Russia has nothing to do with him, his relations with U.S. justice or his travel plans.

"He chose his itinerary on his own," Lavrov insisted. "He has not crossed the Russian border."

Lavrov said that accusing Russia of "violation of U.S. laws and even some sort of conspiracy" with regard to Snowden is "absolutely ungrounded and unacceptable."

As CBS News correspondent Bob Orr reported Monday night, the White House has mounted huge pressure on the Russians to send him home before he can head into asylum in some other country.

During a stop in Saudi Arabia, Secretary of State John Kerry responded by saying the United States is not looking for a confrontation with Russia.

Speaking at a news conference in Jiddah, Kerry said that while it's true the United States does not have an extradition treaty with Russia, Moscow should comply with common law practices between countries concerning fugitives.

"I would simply appeal for calm and reasonableness," Kerry said. "We would hope that Russia would not side with someone who is a fugitive from justice."

Snowden's eventual destination is not clear, but the government of Ecuador has confirmed he has applied for asylum there. Other places mentioned as possible stops or final destinations for Snowden include Venezuela, Cuba, and Iceland.

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