Putin to Snowden: Do not damage US-Russian relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with officials in the Siberian city of Chita, about 3,000 miles east of Moscow, on Tuesday, July 16.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who has applied for asylum in Russia, must avoid harming Moscow's relations with Washington.

MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin said NSA leaker Edward Snowden has been warned against taking any actions that would damage relations between Moscow and Washington.

Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia, three weeks after arriving at one of Moscow's international airports from Hong Kong. The United States wants him sent home to face prosecution for espionage.

Snowden: Seeking asylum in Russia.AP Photo: Human Rights Watch

Edward Snowden: Seeking asylum in Russia.

Granting Snowden asylum would add new tensions to U.S.-Russian relations already strained by criticism of Russia's pressure on opposition groups, Moscow's suspicion of U.S. missile-defense plans and Russia's resistance to sanctions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

On a visit to the Siberian city of Chita on Wednesday, Putin said "we have warned Mr. Snowden that any actions by him connected with harming Russian-American relations are unacceptable," according to Russian news agencies.

Related: Experts' advice to Snowden: Fly commercial

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