Putin 'has more important things' than Snowden

Putin said Russia will not hand over fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden to the United States.</p>

Putin said Russia will not hand over fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden to the United States.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has much more important matters on his hands than the fate of Edward Snowden, the US intelligence leaker stranded for almost a month at a Moscow airport, the Kremlin said Friday.

"We have a lot to do. You've seen the working schedule of the president. These are much more important things than Snowden," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, quoted by the ITAR-TASS news agency.

"Developing the Sakhalin region is more important than Snowden. Developing the Chita region is more important than Snowden," he added, referring to two far-flung Russian regions in the Pacific and Siberia respectively.

Peskov reaffirmed past comments by Putin that the Kremlin did not want Moscow-Washington relations to suffer as a result of Snowden, who the US wants to put on trial but Russia has refused to hand over.

"We really hope that this situation will in no way reflect on our bilateral relations," he said.

"Russia is not the author of this situation with Snowden," he said.

Peskov said he was aware of a New York Times report that cited US officials as saying US President Barack Obama was "rethinking" a plan to visit Moscow for a bilateral summit with Putin ahead of the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg in September.

But he said planning for Obama's visit was continuing and the Kremlin had not been given any such information that it was in question.

Snowden, who has already asked for asylum, has indicated through a Russian lawyer that he does not rule out applying for Russian citizenship.

Peskov said he was not aware of any such plan but noted that any application for Russian citizenship by any applicant would be examined.