The United States would be deeply disappointed if Russia were to allow fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden to leave Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, the State Department said on Wednesday.
“Any move that would allow Mr. Snowden to depart the airport would be deeply disappointing,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. She said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had telephoned Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss the situation.
“He reiterated our belief, which we’ve stated publicly and privately, that Mr. Snowden needs to be returned to the United States where he will face a fair trial,” said Psaki. “As you all know he’s been accused of three felony accounts, he is not a human rights activist, he is somebody who’s been accused of leaking classified information and that Russia still has the ability to do the right thing and facilitate his return.”
Snowden, who is wanted by the United States for revealing details of U.S. government intelligence, arrived in Russia on June 23 from Hong Kong, where he had fled to escape capture and trial in the United States on espionage charges.
Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela have said they could offer sanctuary to Snowden but none of those countries can be reached by a direct commercial flight from Moscow so Snowden has requested temporary asylum in Russia until he believes he can safely reach one of them.