MOSCOW, August 2 (RIA Novosti) – Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov and US Ambassador Michael McFaul have discussed the asylum status that Russia granted to fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, as well as a number of other issues, the US Embassy in Moscow said Friday.
“McFaul and Ushakov discussed nuclear arms reductions, missile defense, Syria, trade, human rights, and the new status of Mr. Snowden,” the embassy said in a Twitter message.
Snowden, who is wanted in the United States on espionage and theft charges after leaking classified information about US surveillance programs that purportedly targeted millions of Americans, finally left the transit zone of a Moscow airport on Thursday after receiving a year’s temporary asylum in Russia.
On Friday, a senior Russian lawmaker hit out at US Senator John McCain, a fierce Kremlin critic who had called the amnesty a “slap in the face of all Americans.”
“Senator McCain claims that by granting Snowden asylum, Russia has decided to ‘humiliate’ the US,” Alexei Pushkov, head of the parliamentary international affairs committee, wrote on Twitter.
“That is not the case. By closing off exit routes, the US left Moscow with no other choice.”
McCain on Thursday had urged the administration of US President Barack Obama “to fundamentally rethink our relationship with [President Vladimir] Putin’s Russia.”
Washington had repeatedly called on Moscow to reject Snowden’s asylum request and send him back to the United States to stand trial.