Jun 24, 2013 No Comments ›› Chuck Biscuits
(Reuters) – Russia defied White House pressure on Monday to expel former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden to the United States before he flees Moscow on the next stop of his globe-crossing escape from U.S. prosecution.
Snowden, 29, has kept out of sight in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport as Ecuador says it considers his request for asylum.
The White House said it expected the Russian government to send Snowden back to the United States.
“We expect the Russian government to look at all options available to expel Mr Snowden back to the U.S. to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged,” said Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council.
The Russian government ignored the appeal and President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary denied any knowledge of Snowden’s movements.
Asked if Snowden had spoken to the Russian authorities, Peskov said: “Overall, we have no information about him.”
He declined comment on the expulsion request but other Russian officials said Moscow had no obligation to cooperate with Washington after it passed legislation to impose visa bans and asset freezes on Russians accused of violating human rights.
“Why should the United States expect restraint and understanding from Russia?” said Alexei Pushkov, the head of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of parliament.
Putin has missed few chances to champion public figures who challenge Western governments and to portray Washington as an overzealous global policeman. But Russian leaders have not paraded Snowden before the cameras or trumpeted his arrival.