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From—who else?—Vladimir Putin, responding to the US request that it extradite Edward Snowden:
Russia never gives up anyone to anybody and is not planning to.
Did he say that in English? Or is this just someone’s Jimmy Cagney-esque translation of the original Klingon?1
So what the hell happens now? Snowden’s passport has been revoked, so he can’t travel. Ecuador won’t grant him asylum unless he shows up at their embassy door. But Russia won’t let him do that, nor will they turn him over to the United States. Putin also says that Russia won’t grant him asylum as long as he keeps leaking documents that harm America’s interests. That last is a helluva chin scratcher, isn’t it? I guess Putin just likes playing mind games with us. Meanwhile, the LA Times reports that Snowden has applied to 15 other countries for asylum. Hopefully, one of them is willing to consider the request without meeting Snowden personally.
I’m not really sure how this ends. But apparently Putin has decided that there are drawbacks to baiting the United States after all. I’m not sure what persuaded him of that, but this is from the LAT story: “Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of the monthly National Defense journal, said it appeared that Putin was, in effect, offering a peace deal to the United States over Snowden.” All very odd.
1The LA Times reports Putin saying “Russia never hands anybody over anywhere and doesn’t intend to do so.” The Washington Post renders the quote as “Russia never extradites anyone anywhere and is not going to extradite anyone.” So I guess it was a translation.