Russia has called U.S. claims that it aided Edward Snowden, the fugitive National Security Agency whistleblower, «unfounded and unacceptable.»
That may mean that Snowden never left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport: if the 30-year-old American remained in the transit area and did not go through immigration, he would technically not have entered Russian territory.
Washington believes Snowdon — charged with disclosing secret U.S. surveillance programs — is in Moscow waiting for news of an asylum request to Ecuador.
Snowden has not been seen in public since he left Hong Kong. He had a ticket for a flight bound for Cuba on Monday afternoon, but failed to board.
The BBC cited a source as saying that he was traveling with Wikileaks legal researcher Sarah Harrison.
Julian Assange, the anti-secrecy website’s founder, said Monday that Snowden was safe, although «due to the bellicose threats coming from the US administration we cannot go into further detail at this time.»
Assange was speaking via teleconference from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where Assange is holed up — he says because of U.S. ambitions to extradite and try him for treason. Assange said:
«We are aware where Mr Snowden is, he is in a safe place and his spirits are high.»
Meanwhile, Lavrov said U.S. attempts to blame Russia for his disappearance were «groundless.»
«We are in no way involved with either Mr Snowden, his relations with US justice, nor to his movements around the world.»
Washington has already taken China to task over allowing Snowdon to leave Hong Kong, against their wishes that he be detained and handed over to U.S. authorities for extradition.
Secretary of State John Kerry has dubbed Snowden a traitor to his country and warned both Russia and China that their relations with the U.S. might be damaged by their refusal to extradite him.
This article originally was published at Global Post.
(Here’s «Where In The World Is Edward Snowden?» part 1.)