Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., accused Russian President Vladimir Putin Sunday of “aiding and abetting” NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s escape from Hong Kong.
“What’s infuriating here is Prime Minister [sic] Putin of Russia aiding and abetting Snowden’s escape,” Schumer said on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday.
“The bottom line is very simple: Allies are supposed to treat each other in decent ways, and Putin always seems almost eager to put a finger in the eye of the United States, whether it is Syria, Iran and now, of course, with Snowden,” he said. “I think it’ll have serious consequences for the United States-Russia relationship.”
According to The South China Morning Post, Snowden was on a plane headed for Moscow, but Russia was not his final destination.
The Kremlin said it has not yet received a request for asylum. Snowden could make that request upon arrival in Russia.
A week ago, Russian officials said they would consider such a request if one is made. A Kremlin aide told ABC News that they have no information about Snowden’s travel plans.
Schumer also questioned the involvement of Chinese officials in influencing Hong Kong’s decision to allow Snowden to leave despite an extradition request from the U.S.
“Well, first, very disappointing what Hong Kong has done. It remains to be seen how much influence Beijing had on Hong Kong. As you know, they coordinate their foreign policies. And I have a feeling the hand of Beijing was involved here,” Schumer said.
Hong Kong officials said Sunday that Snowden left Hong Kong Sunday “on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel.”
The Hong Kong government said that the U.S. government’s extradition request “did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong Law” and argued that there was “no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.”