(Reuters) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he believes former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden was wrong to leak U.S. spy secrets, but is no traitor.
Snowden, 33, was given asylum in Russia in 2013 after leaking classified information about U.S. spy operations. His lawyer said in January Snowden had the right to remain in Russia until 2020 and to apply for Russian citizenship next year.
Putin, a former KGB officer and ex-head of Russia’s FSB security service, made his comments about Snowden in an interview with U.S. film director Oliver Stone, excerpts of which were released ahead of its broadcast by U.S. TV network Showtime from June 12.
“Snowden is not a traitor,” said Putin. “He did not betray the interests of his country, nor did he transfer any information to any other country that would damage his own people,” said Putin.
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