Putin: U.S. has locked Snowden in Russia, scaring other countries

The U.S. has actually locked former CIA contractor Edward Snowden in Russia by not allowing other countries to clear his transit flight over their territory, said President Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. has actually locked former CIA contractor Edward Snowden in Russia by not allowing other countries to clear his transit flight over their territory, said President Vladimir Putin.

"He arrived on our territory without an invitation. Russia was not his destination. He was a transit passenger flying to other countries. The moment news arrived that he was in midair, our American partners actually blocked his further movement," Putin told students.

"In fact, the U.S. itself sort of scared other countries into denying entry to Snowden and actually locked him on our territory," he said.

"A kind of a gift. For Christmas," Putin joked.

Asked what will happen next to Snowden, he said, "Why should I know? It's his life. His fate."Fugitive U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden will leave Russia as soon as he is legally able to do so, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Things have been suspended at this point, but, as soon as there's a chance to move somewhere, he will naturally do so," Putin said.

"The terms of granting him political asylum are well known. Judging by his latest statements, he's changing his position in some way, the situation isn't finally clear yet."

Putin reiterated the terms for giving asylum to Snowden - he must stop leaking U.S. classified information.

"We have certain relations with the United States, and we don't want your activities to harm our relations with the United States. He said no. You're laughing, but I'm serious. He said, I want to carry on with my activities, I want to fight for human rights, I believe that the United States departed from certain legal standards, from international legal standards, it interferes in people's private lives, and my purpose is to fight this today. We said, go ahead but we'll keep out, we've got enough to fight," Putin said.

"Eventually, he wants to move to another place of permanent residence, he wants to be a permanent resident in other territory," the president said.

At a meeting with rights activists in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on Friday, Snowden asked them to help him apply for temporary asylum in Russia pending the anticipated arrival of documents that would enable him to travel to Nicaragua, Bolivia or Venezuela, which have offered him permanent asylum.

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