Edward Snowden, the former U.S. intelligence contractor wanted by the United States for leaking state secrets, asked for asylum in Russia but withdrew his request after hearing Russia's conditions for granting it, a Kremlin spokesman said Tuesday.
"Snowden did voice a request to remain in Russia. Then, yesterday, hearing President Putin outline Russia's position regarding the conditions under which he could do this, he withdrew his request to ask for permission to stay in Russia," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
On Monday evening, Putin said: "If he wants to go somewhere [another country] and is accepted, he can. If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: He must stop his work aimed at harming our U.S. partners, no matter how strange this may sound coming from me."
Peskov confirmed that Snowden is in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport and had not crossed Russia's state border.
"He [Snowden] does not currently wish to remain in Russia," Peskov said, and also stressed that Russia's secret services have never worked with Snowden."He is not an agent," Peskov clarified.
Earlier on Tuesday, the WikiLeaks site published a list of 21 countries to which Snowden had submitted asylum requests.
In addition to Cuba, Ecuador and Iceland, which had been rumored to be his preferred destinations, the list also includes countries in Western Europe such as Austria, France, Germany and Italy. China is also on the list.