Russia’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden never crossed the border into the country.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was careful not to deny that Snowden had arrived at Moscow's international airport on Sunday, but insisted that Russia had no involvement with his travel plans, The Guardian reported.
US secretary of state, John Kerry, repeated his call for Moscow to turn over Snowden, who is attempting to evade capture by US authorities.
"I would simply appeal for calm and reasonableness. We would hope that Russia would not side with someone who is 'a fugitive' from justice,'" Kerry said.
Lavrov reiterated that Russia did not intend to get involved. "I would like to say right away that we have no relation to either Mr Snowden or to his relationship with American justice or to his movements around the world," Lavrov said.
"He chose his route on his own, and we found out about it, as most here did, from mass media," he said during a joint press conference with Algeria's foreign minister. "He did not cross the Russian border."
According to WikiLeaks, Snowden fled Hong Kong on Sunday morning to transit via Moscow to an undisclosed third country. He has applied to be granted political asylum by Ecuador, whose London embassy is currently sheltering the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Russian news agencies, citing anonymous sources, reported that Snowden had arrived in Moscow on Sunday evening and met Ecuadorean diplomats at Sheremetyevo airport while awaiting a Monday afternoon flight to Havana, from where he would travel to Quito. Snowden did not show up for the flight.