A report that whistleblower Edward Snowden is seeking temporary asylum in Russia has sparked a flurry of public warnings from US officials that Snowden is seeking a “propaganda platform” and that granting him asylum would do serious harm to US-Russian relations.
President Obama also stepped up the rhetoric in a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, reiterating US demands that Russia immediately capture Snowden and turn him over to the US.
Russia is said to be in an awkward situation on the case, with officials saying that Russia doesn’t want Snowden to cast a pall over the September summit talks, but likely can’t afford to appear to be giving in to unreasonable US demands to abide by an extradition treaty that doesn’t exist.
Russia has suggested they would offer Snowden conditional asylum assuming he didn’t do any more leaking of classified US data, and there are reports Snowden may accept the deal, though this is unlikely to change the Obama Administration’s bellicose position.
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