Fugitive Edward Snowden Still at Moscow Airport, Says Russia’s Putin
Edward Snowden is still inside the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday – the first official word on the fugitive’s whereabouts in more than two days.
Putin said Russia has nothing to do with Snowden’s plans, and appeared to pour cold water on demands from Washington to hand him over to U.S. prosecutors.
“As regards handing him in - we can hand over foreign nationals only to a country with which we have an agreement about handing over criminals,” Putin told reporters at a press conference in Finland. “We do not have such an agreement with the United States.”
Russia and the United States have cooperated on similar exchanges in the past, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said at a briefing on Tuesday, adding that the U.S. has handed over “hundreds” of people in similar cases.
Confirmation of Snowden’s location added to speculation that Snowden is seeking permission to fly to Cuba then onward to another country – most likely Ecuador, to which he has already applied for political asylum.
Meanwhile, he remains beyond the reach of American efforts to extradite him - placing a strain on U.S. relations with Russia, Ecuador, and China, where irate officials have denied they assisted his escape from Hong Kong on Sunday.
No one had bought a ticket under Snowden’s name for a daily Aeroflot airlines flight from Moscow to Havana on Tuesday, airline employees told NBC News before the plane took off. The next flight to the island nation 90 miles from the U.S. is scheduled to leave on Thursday.