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U.S. says allowing Snowden to leave airport would be 'disappointing'

A general view is seen of Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow July 24, 2013. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
A general view is seen of Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow July 24, 2013. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States would be deeply disappointed if Russia were to allow fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden to leave Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, the State Department said on Wednesday.

"Any move that would allow Mr. Snowden to depart the airport would be deeply disappointing," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. She said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had telephoned Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss the situation.

Snowden, who is wanted by the United States for revealing details of U.S. government intelligence, arrived in Russia on June 23 from Hong Kong, where he had fled to escape capture and trial in the United States on espionage charges.

"The secretary spoke with Foreign Minister Lavrov this morning. He reiterated our belief ... that Mr. Snowden needs to be returned to the United States where he will have a fair trial," Psaki said.

Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela have said they could offer sanctuary to Snowden but none of those countries can be reached by a direct commercial flight from Moscow so Snowden has requested temporary asylum in Russia until he believes he can safely reach one of them.

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; editing by Christopher Wilson)

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