China and Russia have denied allegations put forth by the United States regarding the involvement of both countries to help U.S. spy Edward Snowden to escape prosecution in the United States. The issue has created tensions between the two countries, whose alliances have been important during worldwide conflicts which also include the Syrian war.
U.S. in talks with Russia
Edward Snowden has been accused of stealing data regarding secret U.S. surveillance programs. Snowden went through Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport from Hong Kong on Sunday. According to the U.S. State Department, diplomats and officials of the U.S. Justice Department are in discussions with Russia to reach a deal through which Snowden could be brought back to United States to face trial for espionage.
Where is Snowden?
According to a report from Reuters citing a source from the airport, Snowden, 30, requested asylum in Ecuador. His flight ticket to Cuba was booked, but he did not get on board.
Journalists who were present at the airport could not locate him either inside or leaving the transit area, and there has been some relaxation in security presence for the past 24 hours. According to hotel sources, Snowden didn’t check into any hotel.
However, according to the receptionist of a hotel “Air Express”, Snowden arrived on Sunday, looked at the price list but didn’t check in and left.
According to anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, Snowden is traveling on a refugee document of passage issued by Ecuador.
White House Spokesperson Jay Carney said that Washington is expecting that Snowden is still in Russia.
China & Russia Denying
United States authorities accused both China and Russia of letting Snowden escape, but both Beijing and Moscow have denied any such accusations resentfully. Both China and Russia are in the U.N. Security Council along with the United States.
“The United States’ criticism of China’s central government is baseless. China absolutely cannot accept it,” said Hua Chunying, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said in Beijing.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Snowden decided his route on his own, and Russian authorities learned about it from the media. Lavrov said that Snowden has not crossed the Russian border and the accusation made by the United States is completely baseless and unacceptable.
What Snowden Did
Snowden revealed information about the secret surveillance program of the United States, which triggered viral and media discussion about issues like civil liberties. Snowden supposedly escaped to Moscow after he left Hong Kong, even after the Washington urged Chinese territory to keep him in custody.
The Snowden chapter is an embarrassment to the Obama Administration, particularly since they are clueless regarding his whereabouts.