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McCain slams Putin on Snowden: Russia’s actions ‘reminiscent’ of Cold War

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Edward Snowden (Guardian)

Sen. John McCain weighed in on the Edward Snowden saga on Tuesday, saying that Russia's actions in the wake of the accused National Security Agency leaker's reported arrival in Moscow harkens back to the Cold War.

"It's reminiscent of the days of the Cold War, when you hear a Russian spokesman saying that [Snowden’s] not in Russia when every shred of evidence indicates that he is,” McCain said on CNN. “We've got to start dealing with Vladimir Putin in a realistic fashion for what he is. He’s an old KGB colonel apparatchik that dreams of the days of the Russian empire, and he continues to stick his thumb in our eye in a broad variety of ways. Most importantly to me, of course, and should be to the world, is their continued support of [Syrian President] Bashar al Assad and the massacre taking place in Syria."

McCain's comments echoed what fellow U.S. lawmakers said about Putin on Sunday.

"Putin always seems almost eager to stick a finger in the eye of the United States—whether it is Syria, Iran and now of course with Snowden," New York Sen. Charles Schumer said on CNN's "State of the Union." "Allies are supposed to treat each other in decent ways."

"The freedom trail is not exactly China-Russia-Cuba-Venezuela," South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said on "Fox News Sunday." "So I hope we’ll chase [Snowden] to the ends of the Earth, bring him to justice and let the Russians know there’ll be consequences if they harbor this guy.”

At a news conference in Finland on Tuesday, Putin said Snowden was still in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport, and that Russia would not hand him over to the American government.

Putin added that he hoped the Snowden case would not affect Russia's relations with the United States.

"We consider the attempts to accuse Russia of violation of U.S. laws and even some sort of conspiracy, which on top of all that are accompanied by threats, as absolutely ungrounded and unacceptable," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier on Tuesday. “There are no legal grounds for such conduct of U.S. officials.”

Speaking in Saudi Arabia, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, “We are not looking for a confrontation. We are not ordering anybody. We are simply requesting under a very normal procedure for the transfer of somebody.”

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