16 Jul 2013

US has Snowden trapped in Russia - Putin

12:16 pm on 16 July 2013

Russian president Vladmir Putin is accusing the United States of effectively trapping intelligence leaker Edward Snowden in Russia by scaring other countries into refusing him entry.

Mr Snowden has been stuck in Moscow airport since arriving from Hong Kong on 23 June.

The former intelligence analyst revealed to a British newspaper that the US was using an electronic surveillance programme to spy on other countries. The US has charged him with leaking classified information.

Mr Snowden has been offered asylum in a number of Latin American states but has no documents with which to leave the transit zone at Moscow airport.

During a visit to Hogland Island, in the Baltic Sea, Mr Putin accused the US of scaring other countries into refusing to allow Mr Snowden entry, the BBC reports.

Mr Putin has refused to hand over the fugitive to the US authorities but says he can stay in Russia only if he stops leaking secrets about US surveillance schemes.

He said there were signs Mr Snowden was "changing his position", and he hoped he would leave Russia when he had the chance.