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Russia-US ties more important than Snowden: Putin

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-07-17 20:43

MOSCOW - The relationship between Russia and the United States is more important than any intelligence scandal, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.

"International relations, in my opinion, are more important than the special services' hassles," Putin told reporters in the Far Eastern city of Chita, adding that the Russian authorities have no intention to follow former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden's actions.

"We have no plans to go into details. We warned Mr. Snowden that any of his actions damaging Russian-US relations are unacceptable for us," Putin added.

The US intelligence whistleblower filed an official request for temporary asylum in Russia on Tuesday, saying he had no plans to go for Latin America after receiving asylum in Russia.

Putin previously said that Snowden arrived in Russian territories without invitation as a transit passenger to other countries, and he will "leave Russia when opportunity emerges."

The president had noted that Snowden was blocked from further travels after Washington revoked the 29-year-old whistleblower's passport.

Talking about the costs of "human rights activities," Putin said that when those activities are carried out under the aegis of the United States and with its support, it is rather a comfortable business, but "if somebody intends to start criticizing the United States, of course this is a more complicated business."

Meanwhile, Putin reiterated his claims that Snowden is not planning to stay in Russia for long, hinting the US citizen is not welcomed in the country.

"He is a young man, as a matter of fact, we don't quite understand how he made his decision and how he is going to shape his life in future, but this is his future and his choice," Putin said.

Russian Federal Migration Service (FMS) confirmed Tuesday it has received an application for asylum from Snowden.

According to head of the FMS Public Council, Vladimir Volokh, Snowden could be transferred from the Sheremetyevo transit zone to the FMS temporary shelter for refugees while waiting for the authorities' decision.

Normally, the process of granting refugee status takes from three to six months in Russia. The law does not set definite timing for the procedure but reads that the status is granted for one year with possible annual extension.

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