July 15, 2013
MOSCOW (AP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin is characterizing National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden's long stay at a Moscow airport as an unwelcome present foisted on Russia by the United States.
In comments reported by Russian news agencies on Monday, Putin noted that Snowden flew to Moscow on June 23 "without invitation," intending only to transit to another country.
But Putin says the United States intimidated other countries against accepting Snowden, effectively blocking him from flying further.
He is quoted as saying, "Such a present to us. Merry Christmas."
Snowden said last week he would apply for Russian asylum. The status of that application is unclear.
Russian news agencies said Monday no formal application had been received. The Federal Migration Service told The Associated Press it had no information on the matter.