Putin: Snowden a Free Man, We Won't Extradite

NSA leaker is in transit area of Moscow airport

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 25, 2013 10:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – Vladimir Putin took time out from his visit to Finland today to confirm what everyone pretty much already knew: NSA leaker Edward Snowden is in the Moscow airport, but he's still in the transit zone and has not crossed the Russian border. He's free to go wherever he wants, Putin said, according to the AP. And since Russia doesn't have an extradition agreement with the US, Snowden won't be extradited, the Russian president added.

But he also expressed his hope that Snowden would leave soon (the BBC tweeted his exact words: "Snowden is a free man and the sooner he chooses a destination, the better."), and that this airport incident won't affect US-Russia relations. He noted that Russian security agencies "didn't work and aren't working" with Snowden. Earlier, Russia's foreign minister indignantly said that US "attempts to accuse Russia of violating US laws and even some sort of conspiracy" were "absolutely ungrounded and unacceptable." Putin echoed that attitude during his comments, calling US accusations against Russia "rubbish," Reuters reports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media following a meeting with Finland's President Sauli Niinisto at the presidential summer residence Kultaranta in Naantali, Finland, June 25, 2013.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media following a meeting with Finland's President Sauli Niinisto at the presidential summer residence Kultaranta in Naantali, Finland, June 25, 2013.   (AP Photo/Lehtikuva, Kimmo Mantyla)
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