Russia rejects U.S. claims Snowden violated asylum agreement

Nov. 2, 2013 at 1:01 PM

MOSCOW, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Russia has denied claims by the United States that former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden violated the terms of his asylum in Russia.

A spokesman for President Vladimir Putin was quoted in a Russian newspapers as saying Snowden would not be allowed to conduct any activities that harmed U.S. interests, RIA Novosti reported Saturday.

Before granting Snowden asylum in August, Putin said he could stay only if he stopped work "aimed at harming our U.S. partners."

The Russian daily Kommersant quoted a White House official whose name was not reported as saying Snowden had broken the terms of his asylum agreement by telling a German lawmaker during a meeting in Moscow he would talk to German officials about information leaked to him about U.S. spy operations in Germany.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Kommersant "no one will let him break the Russian president's condition that he must not harm the U.S. But he is on Russian soil, having legally obtained temporary asylum, and therefore is free to meet with whomever he pleases."

Peskov said documents that revealed U.S. intelligence-gathering activities in Germany -- including collecting data from the personal cellphone of Chancellor Angela Merkel -- had not been released from Russia.

Snowden has said he handed over his entire archive of documents to journalists in Hong Kong before he left for Russia.

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