U.S. should not expect Russia to expel Snowden: lawmaker

MOSCOW Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:55am EDT

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Washington should not expect Moscow to expel former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, a senior Russian lawmaker and Kremlin ally said on Monday.

The White House urged Moscow to send Snowden back to the United States after he fled Hong Kong on Sunday for Moscow. He was expected to fly out of Moscow on Monday, possibly to Cuba.

But Alexei Pushkov, head of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of parliament, said: "Ties are in a rather complicated phase and when ties are in such a phase, when one country undertakes hostile action against another, why should the United States expect restraint and understanding from Russia?"

He also added: "I think there is no question of granting political asylum (to Snowden) in Russia."

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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