Snowden to leave Russia when opportunity emerges: Putin

Updated: 2013-07-16 05:00


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MOSCOW - Fugitive US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden will leave Russia when opportunity emerges, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.

"He has arrived in our territory without invitation, he didn't fly to us, he arrived as a transit passenger to other countries," the Interfax news agency quoted Putin as saying during a meeting with local students in the Leningrad region.

The president noted that Snowden was blocked from further travels after Washington revoked the 29-year-old whistleblower's passport.

"They (the US authorities) scared off all other countries, so no one wants to accept him (Snowden). So, in effect, they've blocked him on our territory themselves," Putin said.

The president declined to comment on Snowden's future, saying: "How can I know that? This is his life and his fate."

But he added: "Eventually, he (Snowden) wants to move to a permanent residence in another territory."

"As soon as the opportunity appears to move somewhere, he of course will do that," he said.

Putin also made it clear that Moscow is not going to harm its relations with the United States, and that Snowden could only continue with his human rights activities "without our involvement. "

Snowden met with Russian human rights activists and lawyers at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport on Friday.