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    Russia Against Extradition of Snowden to US Under Any Circumstances - Putin

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia will not extradite Edward Snowden to the United States, because the whistleblower is not a criminal.

    A chair is pictured on stage as former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
    © REUTERS / Svein Ove Ekornesvaag/NTB Scanpix
    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Russia will not extradite US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden to the United States, because the whistleblower is not a criminal, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with US moviemaker Oliver Stone.

    On Friday, Stone released the transcript of his interviews with the Russian leader recorded between 2015 and 2017 that had been aired by the Showtime television network earlier in the week. Putin's quote is given in the translation from Russian into English used in the transcript.

    "No, under no circumstances. Because he's no criminal," the president said, answering a question about the possibility of extradition.

    During the interview, the Russian leader refuted Stone's words saying that Snowden was only "a pawn in the game."

    "I think you're mistaken. He would have been a pawn if he had been a traitor. And he's no traitor. Well, listen to my position as to what he has done. I think he's still a personality and he has a position in his own right and he's fighting for this position. He's defending it," Putin said.

    In 2013, Snowden leaked classified documents on mass surveillance practices carried out by US authorities around the globe. Snowden fled to Hong Kong, then to Russia, which granted him asylum. In 2014, Snowden was given a temporary residence permit for three years, which was renewed until 2020.


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