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Russian official says Snowden case at 'dead end'

Moscow is refusing to respond to US efforts to have the former NSA contractor handed over.

Coverage of the Snowden case being broadcast in a café in Moscow Airport
Coverage of the Snowden case being broadcast in a café in Moscow Airport
Image: Sergei Grits/AP/Press Association Images

FUGITIVE US INTELLIGENCE leaker Edward Snowden’s situation has hit a “dead end,” with Moscow refusing to respond to Washington’s unofficial requests to hand over the former National Security Agency contractor, a Russian official said today.

An unnamed Russian source close to the matter told the Interfax news agency that Moscow had so far received no formal extradition request from the United States.

“There have been contacts at an unofficial level, along diplomatic channels, with a request to detain and deport” Snowden, the unnamed official said.

But considering current strains in Russian-US relations over human rights issues and the Syria conflict, Moscow has refused to respond, the source said.

“These are not the grounds for any serious steps to be taken by Russia, especially considering the uneasy state of our bilateral relations,” the official said.

“The situation around Snowden is at a dead end.”

Snowden has spent the day holed up in a Moscow airport transit zone for a fifth day, awaiting a decision on his request for political asylum in Ecuador.

The 30-year-old arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong on a regular Aeroflot airlines flight on Sunday. He’s been on the run from US authorities since leaking top secret documents of domestic spying conducted by the NSA earlier this month.

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The Russian source suggested that the situation will only be resolved once Ecuador or some other country decides to grant Snowden political asylum.

“The resolution will come when the authorities of any given country offer asylum to the former CIA agent,” the source said.

Read: Edward Snowden to follow Julian Assange to Ecuadoran shelter?

Read: US whistleblower Snowden charged with espionage for leaking secret documents

In full: More coverage of the ‘PRISM’ surveillance scandal

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