MOSCOW, July 4 (Itar-Tass) - Russia cannot influence the situation around National Security Service leaker Edward Snowden until he makes up his mind, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday, commenting on Snowden’s prolonged stay at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport transit zone.
“Our stance is that we cannot decide anything for him until he takes this or that decision, until he makes up his mind what is better for him,” the Russian diplomat said.
Two days ago, Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Snowden had asked to be allowed to stay in Russia but dropped his plans as soon as learnt the conditions for that. “Indeed, Snowden made requests to stay in Russia, but yesterday, upon learning Putin's position regarding the condition under which he could stay, he dropped the request. As for now, he doesn't wish to stay in the Russian Federation," Peskov said adding that Snowden had sent asylum requests to 15 countries.
Peskov reminded that the legal status of the former CIA employee is currently determined by his staying in the airport’s transit zone. In formal terms, Snowden has not crossed the Russian border.
The presidential press secretary also stressed that the man had not been contracted by Russian secret services. He “is not an agent of Russian secret service,” he stressed.
“Snowden sincerely believes or due to some other reasons thinks himself a human rights activist and an advocate of ideas of democracy and human rights,” Peskov said. “It is recognized by Russian human rights activists and their colleagues abroad.”
Hypothetically, Snowden could stay in the Russian Federation on the condition voiced by the Russian president, i.e. that he stops anti-American activity. "As far as we know, he does not intend to stop it," the spokesman underlined.
Edward Snowden, 30, a former technical specialist at the CIA, leaked informational on the existence of secret programs run by the U.S. National Security Agency to intercept the telephone calls and Internet message exchanges processed via servers on the U.S. territory. Snowden’s revelations stirred a global scandal that is only gaining force.
He made his revelations public while on a trip in Hong Kong where he took an Aeroflot flight for Moscow on June 23. On the next day, he was supposed to fly to Cuba but he did not get aboard the Aeroflot jet eventually. He is still staying in the Sheremetyevo transit zone and taking effort to find political asylum elsewhere.