Russia and China are flexing their muscles with Washington as diplomatic relations between the world's greatest economic and political forces plunges to new depths as the US continues it hunt for elusive whistleblower Edward Snowden.


In Moscow, foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has slammed US demands to extradite NSA whistleblowerEdward Snowden, who is believed to have stopped in Moscow while trying to evade American justice.


Lavrov said Snowden has not crossed the Russian border and insisted that Russia has nothing to do with him, his relations with US justice, or his travel plans.


He angrily criticised American demands for Snowden's extradition and warnings of negative consequences if Moscow fails to comply.


Mr Lavrov said that accusing Russia of "violation of US laws and even some sort of conspiracy" with regard to Snowden is "absolutely ungrounded and unacceptable".


He would not specify the location of Snowden, who booked a Havana-bound flight from Moscow yesterday but did not show up on the plane.


The White House demanded that he be denied asylum, blasted China for letting him go and urged Russia to "do the right thing" and send him back to America to face espionage charges.


Mr Snowden was believed to be in Russia, where he fled on Sunday after weeks of hiding out in Hong Kong following his disclosure of the broad scope of two highly classified counter-terror surveillance programmes to two newspapers.


The programmes collect vast amounts of Americans' phone records and worldwide online data in the name of national security.


Mr Snowden had flown from Hong Kong to Russia, and was expected to fly early yesterday to Havana, from where he would continue on to Ecuador, where he has applied for asylum. But he did not get on that plane and his exact whereabouts were unclear.


The founder of WikiLeaks, the secret-spilling organisation that has embraced Mr Snowden, said the American was only passing through Russia on his way to an unnamed destination to avoid the reach of US authorities.



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