Russia’s foreign minister lashed out at Washington today over the Obama administration’s calls for Moscow to follow the rule of law and hand over NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
“I want to say right away that we have nothing to do with Snowden, or with his attitude to the American legal system, or with his movements around the world. He chose his own route, and we found out about it – like most people here – from the media,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference.
“He did not cross the Russian border,” Lavrov said of Snowden, who landed in Moscow on Sunday from Hong Kong.
Sources told RIA-Novosti that Snowden, accompanied by a WikiLeaks lawyers, was being kept out of public view at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport transit area, which doesn’t count as crossing the border.
Lavrov blasted “attempts to accuse Russia of breaking US laws and practically of being part of a conspiracy – and accompanied by threats directed at us – as totally unfounded and unacceptable.”
Secretary of State John Kerry and White House spokesman Jay Carney both issued warnings yesterday that relations could be damaged by Russia aiding and abetting Snowden. President Obama has not yet commented and the only call he made to a world leader today, according to the White House, was to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Snowden was not on today’s flight to Cuba from Moscow, where he’d need to transfer to get to Ecuador, where he’s sought asylum.
Ecuador has said it’s processing his asylum request. Belarus denied reports that Snowden had applied for asylum in Alexander Lukashenko’s dictatorship.