Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, warned Russia against allowing Mr Snowden a “propaganda platform” by letting him stay in the country. No exact details of the conversation have been disclosed, but Snowden was among the topics the leaders discussed, with security relations and counterterrorism preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi also discussed covered.

Caey said such granting Snowden asylum would “run counter” to Moscow’s assurances that it did not want the affair to harm US-Russia relations. He renewed Washington’s call on Russia to expel Mr Snowden so that he could be returned to American soil to face trial for leaking US national security secrets.

There were chaotic scenes after Mr Snowden invited human rights groups and senior Russian officials to meet him at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, where he has been trapped in a closed area of the transit zone since he flew in from Hong Kong on June 23 with the US authorities closing in.