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Russia: No Asylum Request From Snowden

by VOA News July 13, 2013

Russian officials say they have not received a formal request for asylum from fugitive U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

The head of Russia's Federal Migration Service, Konstantin Romodanovsky, said Saturday that the agency has not yet received an application from Snowden.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov echoed those comments Saturday at a security meeting in Kyrgyzstan, saying the government is not in contact with the former U.S. intelligence contractor.

Snowden, accused of leaking information about classified U.S. National Security Agency surveillance programs, is currently in the transit zone of Moscow' Sheremetyevo airport - where he has been in limbo for three weeks after U.S. officials revoked his passport.

​​On Friday, Snowden met with human rights activists at the airport, telling them he is seeking temporary asylum in Russia until he can safely travel to Latin America, where three countries, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela, have offered him asylum.

The U.S. criticized Russia for allowing Snowden to meet the activists. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday that Russia is giving Snowden a 'propaganda platform,' which he said runs counter to Russia's declaration of neutrality in the matter.

The United States wants to bring Snowden back home to face trial for leaking U.S. secrets.

If Russia were to grant him asylum, the effects on the U.S.-Russia relationship would be significant, exacerbating existing tensions between the two nations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Snowden would have to stop activities 'aimed at harming' Russia's 'American partners,' before his bid for refuge in Russia would be considered.

Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama discussed the Snowden case by phone Friday, along with other issues. No details of their talks have been released.

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