On CNBC, Putin Talks Snowden: ‘We Gave Him a Refuge, But He Didn’t Tell Us Anything’

By Chris Ariens 

PutinCNBCAround 7:30amET, CNBC carried live a Q&A with Geoff Cutmore, who hosts “Squawk Box” on CNBC Europe and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Q&A followed Putin’s address at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.

Cutmore asked Putin whether there is a “road back” in his relationship with Pres. Obama “given the level of hostility at least that seems to be played out in the international media.”

From the CNBC transcript, Putin is quoted as saying:

We never did anything to ruin our relationship and despite very rushed rhetoric and opposing approaches to some very topical matters, our cooperation continues… We continue cooperation on the Iranian nuclear programme. I just met the Iranian President in Beijing on the sidelines of an international forum and we spoke about further joint action involving Iran, and taking onboard U.S. position on the Iranian nuclear issue. Syria remains an important issue. And although our views diverge sometimes we still hope we will come to some agreement. Then we have common agenda confronting terrorism…. So we have many points of convergence that of interest to both Russia and U.S. We are not trying to fence ourselves out from the rest of the world. But you can’t force people to like you, as we say in Russia. But we hope that common sense, good sense, and national interest will push our European and American partners to continue cooperation with United States.

Cutmore then asked Putin if Russia’s relationship with the U.S. was “already breaking down over things like the Snowden affair?”

PUTIN: Well you know, with regards to Mr. Snowden I said many times we do not have any direct relations to this problem. He turned up on our territory because of non-professional actions of the Americans themselves who tried to catch him…. Mr. Snowden considers that he is a champion of human rights. He built his life around it. He is a young man. I don’t know how he is going to live further. I am not trying to joke. How is he going to live further? He is sitting in Russia now. But he has chosen his fate himself. We given… we gave him a refugee. He is not our agent. He didn’t give us any secrets. We gave him a refuge, but he didn’t tell us anything.