Moscow: President Vladimir Putin has said Russia will not extradite former US intelligence employee Edward Snowden back to the US as the two countries do not have an agreement on mutual extradition of criminals.
"The problem is not that we defended Snowden. We are not defending him in any way," Putin said in an interview with Channel 1 TV and the Associated Press ahead of a G20 summit in St. Petersburg, which was available on the Kremlin website Wednesday, Xinhua reported.
"The problem is that we and the United States do not have an agreement on mutual extradition of criminals," said the Russian president.
He asserted that Moscow had invited Washington on numerous occasions to conclude such an agreement "but have been denied".
"We cannot judge whether Snowden committed some crime in the United States or not ... But we, as a sovereign country having no such agreements with the United States, cannot do anything but provide him with the opportunity to stay here," Putin said.
He added that Russia had not received and did not wish to obtain any secret information from Snowden.