US warns Russia that Snowden should be held

THE WHITE House yesterday urged Russia to deny whistleblower Edward Snowden the right to leave the country, even as the former CIA worker went missing.

The US is attempting to bring Snowden back to the country after he revealed details of a secret programme used by spy agencies. A White House spokesperson said yesterday evening that Snowden is believed to still be in Russia after the 30-year-old abandoned a flight to Ecuador via Cuba.

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, said it would be “deeply troubling” if Russia was seen to aid Snowden in any way, as the manhunt threatened to heighten tensions between the two countries. He gave the same warning to China, after Snowden escaped Hong Kong on Sunday – as tensions between the states worsen.

Also adding to US annoyance, Ecuador’s foreign minister Ricardo Patino said his government was considering Snowden’s request for asylum, but that he did not know his whereabouts. Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, who is collaborating with Snowden, said he was safe but refused to reveal where he was.