US accusations over Snowden 'groundless': Russian FM

Updated: 2013-06-25 18:48


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MOSCOW - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed on Tuesday the US accusations over Edward Snowden as "groundless and unacceptable," saying the fugitive US intelligence leaker did not cross border into Russia.

"We deem absolutely ungrounded and unacceptable the attempts we are witnessing to accuse the Russian side of violation of US laws," Lavrov told a press conference after talks with his Algerian counterpart Murad Medelci.

"There are no legal grounds whatsoever for this behavior of US officials," he said.

A White House spokesman said on Monday that the United States had asked Russia to extradite Snowden charged with espionage and theft of government property.

"I wish to say promptly that we have nothing to do with Snowden, his relations with the US Department of Justice or his movements around the world," the minister said, adding "he picked his route on his own ... Snowden has not crossed the Russian border."

Snowden, 30, disclosed information on Washington's secretive surveillance programs that collect vast amounts of phone records and online data in the name of foreign intelligence.

He arrived at Moscow's Sheremetyevo international airport on Sunday from Hong Kong. Earlier media reports said he would take a flight to Havana on Monday, but he did not show up on the plane.