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14 February, 2017

Moscow denies Russia mulling giving Snowden as 'gift' to Trump

Whistleblowers

Amid reports that Moscow is considering handing over NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as a “gift” to U.S. President Donald Trump, a Russian government spokesperson said Monday that the Kremlin and the White House have not discussed the matter, Russia’s state TASS agency reported.

"No, this issue (Snowden’s fate) was not raised," presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday, adding that Russian officials have not taken a position on whether Snowden should be extradited to the U.S. or granted Russian citizenship.

"The issue was not raised (during the Russian-US contacts),” Peskov said. “At the moment it is not among bilateral issues.

The statement comes after Snowden — who has lived in Russia since 2013, first with one-year temporary asylum and then a residency permit — revealed in recent days that he is “not afraid” of being handed over to the United States, where he faces espionage charges for his explosive 2013 leak of documents on secret U.S. mass surveillance programs.

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