(Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday he saw signs that Edward Snowden, the former U.S. spy agency contractor turned fugitive secrets leaker, was shifting towards stopping “political activity” directed against the United States.
Putin, who previously refused to hand Snowden over to the U.S. authorities, said the fugitive’s situation remained unresolved after Washington had blocked his further movements.
Asked on an island in the Gulf of Finland about Snowden’s future, Putin said: “How do I know? It’s his life, his fate.”
“He came to our territory without invitation, we did not invite him. And we weren’t his final destination. He was flying in transit to other states. But the moment he was in the air … our American partners, in fact, blocked his further flight.
“They have spooked all the other countries, nobody wants to take him and in that way, in fact, they have themselves blocked him on our territory,” Putin said.
Putin has stated Snowden should stop activity harmful to the United States if he wanted refuge in Russia and said he saw signs that the former contractor with the National Security Agency was moving in this direction.
“As soon as there is an opportunity for him to move elsewhere, I hope he will do that. The conditions for granting political asylum are known to him. And judging by his latest actions, he is shifting his position. But the situation has not been clarified yet,” Putin said.
Breaking weeks of silence, Snowden on Friday said at a Moscow airport where he has been camped since late June that he was seeking temporary asylum in Russia before he can safely travel to Latin America. Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua have offered him asylum.