The rhetorical maneuvering seemed to signal that Russia’s political position vis-à-vis Mr. Snowden has been complicated further by his now publicly professed desire to stay here. Although President Vladimir V. Putin has insisted that Mr. Snowden must stop harming American interests, the Obama administration has made clear that it believes American interests are being harmed so long as Mr. Snowden is on the loose…
Mr. Lavrov’s assertion that the government has not had contact with Mr. Snowden was notable given that numerous government agencies appeared to have a role in Friday’s meeting, including the Federal Customs Service and the airport administration.
Several of the participants in the meeting are also close to the Kremlin, including Russia’s human rights ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin, and Vyacheslav A. Nikonov, a member of the Duma, the lower house of parliament.
People invited to attend the meeting received instructions from airport management, and reaching the transit zone required special passes to get through the customs control zone. At one point, a bus brought the lawyers and rights advocates from one part of the terminal to another, and several said they met Mr. Snowden in a room with a door marked “Staff Only.”