''Relations with the US more important than Snowden'': Russia

''Relations with the US more important than Snowden'': Russia

Russia did not want to hurt its relations with the US over American whistle-blower Edward Snowden, who is presently staying in Domodedovo airport at Moscow seeking temporary asylum, a senior envoy said today.

"Snowden's visit to Moscow was quite unexpected by Russia. Our President Putin made it clear that we do not want to hurt our relations with the US on Snowden. We do not want to undermine our relations with America on Snowden," Russian Consul General in Southern India Nikolay A Listopadov told reporters here.

"The relations we share with the US are important than Snowden.He came uninvited," he said, "at the same time, it is a very important issue, since it is a humanitarian issue."

Asked whether there were possibilities of sending the former CIA employee back to the US, where he might face espionage charges, he said, "Our stand in the issue is clear cut. On humanitarian grounds, our law does not allow us to send back someone who is facing danger in his home country because that will be contradictory to our law."

After leaking details of several US government mass surveillance programs to the press, Snowden went to Hong Kong and later landed in the Russian capital on June 23, where the former US spy agency contractor is living for more than a month now in the airport's transit area. 

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