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Putin: Russia can't turn over Snowden

Visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin told the press in Finland on Tuesday afternoon that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden cannot be turned over to US authorities because Russia does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.

Vladimir Putin Naantalin Kultarannassa.
Vladimir Putin at the Finnish presidentail summer residence in Naantali on Tuesday. Image: Kimmo Mäntylä / Lehtikuva

At a press conference, following talks with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, Putin said that Snowden was still in Moscow, but in a transit area.

"He arrived as a transit passenger, did not need a visa or other documents. As a transit passenger he had the possibility to just buy a ticket and travel to where he wants,", Putin told the press conference.

Putin said that Snowden's arrival was unexpected for Russia, but that he is a free man and the sooner he chooses a destination, the better. Putin added that Russian security agencies never worked with Snowden. He also stated that he hopes that the Snowden case will not affect relations with the United States.

Child custody cases and gay rights

Among the other issues raised at Tuesday's press conference was a series of custody disputes involving the children of Russian parents resident in Finland. According to President Putin, this matter is no longer problematic. There has been a move in a positive direction with Russia's joining of the Hague Convention on child abduction. Cooperation between national authorizes has improved, he said.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö agreed and pointed out that in such cases there are easily "two truths" and the situation can become inflamed even without an international dimension. He noted that there are mechanisms for countries to deal with these cases, such as the Hague Convention.

Also in answer to a question, Putin noted that there is nothing new in Russian law on civic organizations. He stated that the United States has similar laws and India just recently introduced new laws.

According to President Putin, Russia wants to know what is happening in the country, because there are organizations which receive funding from abroad and participate in Russia's political development. He argued that Russian law is more liberal than similar legislation in the United States.

As for laws banning homosexual propaganda, according to Putin, this is not a matter of banning homosexual relationships, rather protecting children from certain kinds of information. He went on to say that even though, for example, in Finland it is not thought that such information adversely affects children, he also asked that other countries respect Russia's right to do so.

"Homosexuals are equal citizens enjoying full rights," said President Putin.


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