MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's Vladimir Putin may not be embracing the idea of giving asylum to Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked details of two U.S. government surveillance programs.
He says if Snowden is going to get asylum in Russia, he'll have to stop leaking U.S. secrets -- but he believes Snowden has no intention of doing that.
According to Russia's Interfax news agency, Snowden did, in fact, request asylum, hours before Putin made his remarks. Putin didn't mention that, and his spokesman isn't saying what the response might be.
Snowden has been stuck in the transit zone of the Moscow airport since he arrived from Hong Kong more than a week ago. The U.S. has annulled his passport. Ecuador, where he had hoped to get asylum, has been coy about whether it would take him.
Putin today insisted that Snowden isn't a Russian agent, and that Russian security agencies haven't contacted him.
The newspaper Izvestia speculated today that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who is attending a summit of gas exporting nations in Moscow, will take Snowden with him when he leaves. The paper cited a Kremlin source as saying Putin will discuss Snowden with Maduro during a meeting tomorrow.
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