Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday asserted that the country will not extradite U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden to the U. S.
Putin made the statement in an interview with U.S. moviemaker Oliver Stone.
Stone released the transcript of his interviews with the Russian President recorded between the year 2015 and 2017 that had been aired by the Showtime television network earlier, reports Sputnik.
Putin's quote that is used in the transcript is given in translation from Russian to English.
"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 President Putin refuted Stone's terms 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 the year 2013, Snowden leaked classified documents on mass surveillance practices carried out by the U.S. authorities around the world.
Snowden fled to Hong Kong, and then to Russia, which allotted him asylum.
Later in 2014, Snowden was given an impermanent residence permit for three years, which was renewed until the year 2020.
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