Monday, August 26, 2013

Snowden got stuck in Russia after Cuba blocked entry - newspaper

Snowden got stuck in Russia after Cuba blocked entry: newspaper
MOSCOW | Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:20am EDT

(Reuters) - Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden got stuck
in the transit zone of a Moscow airport because Havana said it would not
let him fly from Russia to Cuba, a Russian newspaper reported on Monday.

Snowden, who is wanted in the United States for leaking details of U.S.
government surveillance programs, had planned to fly to Havana from
Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport a day after arriving from Hong Kong on
June 23.

But Snowden, who eventually accepted a year's asylum in Russia after
spending nearly six weeks at Sheremetyevo, did not show up for the
flight although he had been allocated a seat.

Citing several sources, including one close to the U.S. State
Department, Kommersant newspaper said the reason was that at the last
minute Cuba told officials to stop Snowden from boarding the Aeroflot

It said Cuba had changed its mind after pressure by the United States,
which wants to try Snowden on espionage charges.

Kommersant also said Snowden had spent a couple of days in the Russian
consulate in Hong Kong to declare his intention of flying to Latin
America via Moscow.

"His choice of route and his plea to help were a complete surprise to
us. We did not invite him," Kommersant quoted a Russian state source as

Reuters could not immediately verify the report. Allowing Snowden to
land would have put Cuba's relations with the United States at risk.

Ties between the United States and Russia were strained when Moscow
granted Snowden asylum. Following the disagreement over Snowden, U.S.
President Barack Obama postponed a meeting with Russian President
Vladimir Putin planned for next month.

(Reporting by Katya Golubkova, editing by Elizabeth Piper and Timothy

Source: "Snowden got stuck in Russia after Cuba blocked entry: newspaper
| Reuters" -

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