PUTIN: We'll Never Hand Over Edward Snowden To The US

Barack Obama Vladimir Putin

Minutes after President Barack Obama said that the U.S. has held “high level” discussions with Russia about NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s extradition, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia would “never” hand him over.

Reuters reports that Putin also said that if Snowden wants to stay in Russia, he must “stop his work aimed at harming our American partners” in leaking secret information about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

Meanwhile, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Sunday that there would be “no stopping” publication of information gathered by Snowden.

“Great care has been taken to make sure that Mr. Snowden can’t be pressured by any state to stop the publication process,” Assange said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Snowden has been in Russia for more than a week after leaving from Hong Kong last Sunday — a move that strained relations between the U.S. and China. The White House warned Russia last week to “expel Mr. Snowden without delay,” saying there was a “clear legal basis” to do so. 

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that Snowden met with Russian diplomatic officials in the morning with an appeal for asylum in 15 different countries. It’s unclear what countries are on that list, but it came one day after Ecuador President Rafael Correa backed away from suggestions that his country would provide Snowden with asylum.

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