Russia not to decide Snowden's fate: diplomat
Updated: 2013-07-04 23:50
MOSCOW - Moscow will not influence the circumstances around Edward Snowden because the NSA leaker has not appealed for political asylum in Russia, a high-ranking diplomat said Thursday.
"We assume that, without a decision this way or that, and without his understanding what is best for him ... we cannot decide anything for him," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters.
Demonstrators hold banner during protest rally in support of former US spy agency NSA contractor Edward Snowden in Berlin July 4, 2013.[Photo/Agencies]
Snowden, via his legal advisor Sarah Harrison from WikiLeaks, earlier this week handed over an asylum request to Russian authorities but withdrew it later.
Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that upon learning President Vladimir Putin's position regarding the condition under which Snowden could stay, the former National Security Agency systems analyst dropped his request for asylum.
Putin said the precondition for granting asylum was that Snowden, who released sensitive documents on American intelligence-gathering operations, would stop anti-US activities.
"As far as we know, he does not intend to stop it," the Itar-Tass news agency quoted Peskov as saying.
"At present, he doesn't wish to stay in the Russian Federation, " Peskov said, adding that Snowden had sent asylum requests to 15 countries.
Snowden was charged by the US government with three felonies after he disclosed a highly classified surveillance project code-named PRISM that can intercept emails and phone conversations of millions of people.
Snowden arrived at Moscow's Sheremetyevo international airport on June 23 and has since stayed in the transit zone after his US passport was revoked.