The US slammed China and Russia after Edward Snowden seemingly disappeared from the radar in Moscow, spurring confusion in a global game of cat and mouse.
Snowden fled Hong Kong to fly to Russia as Washington scrambled to bring him back to the US. He reportedly arrived in Moscow Sunday to seek asylum in Ecuador but was said to have missed his flight to Cuba. Russia’s Interfax news agency cited a source as saying he was likely already out of the country. His whereabouts remain uncertain.
The White House took a swipe at China for letting Snowden leave Hong Kong and pressured Russia to hand the whistleblower over.
Jay Carney, White House spokesman, said relations between the US and China would “unquestionably” be damaged as a result of Snowden’s departure from Hong Kong, reports the Financial Times.
“We are just not buying that this was a technical decision by a Hong Kong immigration official,” Carney said. “This was a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant, and that decision unquestionably has a negative impact on the US-China relationship.”
President Barack Obama said the US was pursuing “all the appropriate legal channels” in pursuit of Snowden, who was charged with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defence information and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence, according to the BBC, after leaking top-secret US surveillance programs.