President Vladimir Putin is determined not to allow a spat over Edward Snowden to hurt ties with the U.S., his spokesman said Friday.
However, the spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Putin was not involved in talks over the fate of the 30-year-old former U.S. spy agency contractor, who is wanted by the U.S. on espionage charges and has been stuck at a Moscow airport for more than a month.
Russia has refused to hand over Snowden, who leaked details of secret U.S. electronic surveillance programs to British and U.S. media, to the U.S. and is considering a temporary asylum request.
Peskov said Putin had expressed "strong determination" not to let ties with Washington suffer over the dispute, "no matter how the situation develops."
But he reiterated Moscow's stance that Russia "did not hand over, does not hand over and will not hand over anybody."
He added that Russia's federal security service, the FSB, and its U.S. counterpart, the FBI, were in talks on the matter.
"Snowden has not filed any requests that would need to be considered by the head of state. The president is not taking part in discussing the problem with U.S. colleagues," Peskov told journalists.