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Edward Snowden at Moscow airport; Russia won't extradite - Putin

June 25, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Edward Snowden, the man who claims to have leaked classified National Security Agency information, is in a transit zone of a Moscow airport, but Russia will not extradite him, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

Snowden was once again a no-show for a flight to Cuba Tuesday morning. Putin said Snowden hasn't crossed the Russian border and is free to go anywhere, adding that the sooner Snowden figures out his final destination, the better for him and Russia.

"He arrived as a transit passenger. He does not need a visa or any other documents. As a transit passenger, he has the right to buy a ticket and fly wherever he wants. He did not cross the state border, therefore he does not need a visa," Putin said.

American authorities are demanding that Snowden be returned to the U.S. to face espionage charges. But Putin said Russia does not have an extradition agreement with the U.S. and would not meet the U.S. request to send him back.

Putin said he hoped the Snowden situation would not affect U.S.-Russia relations. He noted that Russian security agencies are not working with Snowden.

"Our special services have never worked with Mr. Snowden and are not working with him today," Putin said.

According to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Snowden is traveling with a WikiLeaks representative, and his spirits are high.

Snowden has not been seen or publicly photographed since his arrival in Moscow on Sunday. Snowden's apparent plan was to fly to Cuba and then make his way to Ecuador to seek political asylum. Snowden had also previously discussed seeking asylum in Iceland.

U.S. officials thought they boxed in Snowden in Hong Kong, but officials in China said the arrest request from Washington was flawed, and Snowden was allowed to leave the country on Sunday, making his way to Russia.

Snowden has with him four laptops with the U.S. government's most sensitive secrets.

ABC News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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