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Russia not involved in Snowden’s disappearance

US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

MOSCOW — Russia says it has had no involvement in the travel plans of fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

His whereabouts are unclear after he flew from Hong Kong to Moscow on Sunday. His passport has been revoked.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insisted Snowden had not crossed the border and rejected what he termed US attempts to blame Russia for his disappearance.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said the US did not seek “confrontation” but Russia should hand over Mr Snowden.

Correspondents say Lavrov’s comments suggest that Snowden remained air-side after landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, and so has technically never entered Russian territory.

“We are in no way involved with either Mr Snowden, his relations with US justice, nor to his movements around the world,” Lavrov said.

“He chose his itinerary on his own. We learnt about it… from the media. He has not crossed the Russian border.

“We consider the attempts to accuse the Russian side of violating US laws, and practically of involvement in a plot, to be absolutely groundless and unacceptable.”

The 30-year-old IT expert is wanted by the US for revealing to the media details of a secret government surveillance programme, which he obtained while working as a contractor for the National Security Agency.

Speaking during a visit to Saudi Arabia, Kerry said the transfer of Snowden was a matter of rule of law, and that Russia should remain “calm”.

He is charged with theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence.

Snowden has applied for asylum in Ecuador. The US has revoked his passport.

Reuters news agency quotes a Moscow airport source as saying that Snowden arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong on Sunday afternoon and was due to depart for the Cuban capital, Havana, the following day, but did not use the ticket. (BBC)

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