American Russian relations have been cool in 2013. No change there you may say but at one time diplomacy between the two nations was improved. This year disagreements over North Korea and Syria have strained relations and now adding fuel to the fire is Edward Snowden.
The young American whistle-blower, now condemned as a spy by the mainstream media and the US administration, blew the lid on a huge State operated snooping program. It was not confined to America, and revelations in the UK have continued to show the extent of British spying by way of the US surveillance service.
The joke in the UK is that the government has been going through the motions of allegedly pushing through parliament the Communication and Data Bill, which would allow some snooping. Some politicians have been fighting this and many members of the British public are not in favour of more government snooping. Now it looks as without the powers the new bill would allow the British security services have been having a ball, sticking their noses into private emails and other communications.
Mr Snowden is deemed persona non grata in many places, including the UK, and the US President will frown on any country that offers Mr Snowden asylum. This means that small or vulnerable countries may run scared of providing shelter to Edward. It is going to take a "big" country that is not frightened by the might of the USA to provide asylum for Snowden.
Tuesday many people are asking just where in the world is Edward Snowden. This morning Russian officials denied that he is on Russian soil. The plane which was believed to be carrying Snowden to Ecuador did not. Journalists filled the plane with one seat notably empty, that is the one that was allegedly set aside for Snowden.
Perhaps those helping Edward are not as dumb as some would believe or hope? The journalists scrambled around in the wild hope that Snowden was hiding in the cockpit or hold of the plane but he was not seen disembarking.
Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, rejected US demands to extradite Snowden amidst claims that he is in Moscow. Larov insisted that Snowden has not crossed any border into Russia. According to Sky News he went on to say that the USA is accusing Russia of a "violation of US laws and even some sort of conspiracy" with regard to Snowden, which is "absolutely ungrounded and unacceptable."
In the middle of this melting pot of intrigue is China. That country's leaders have praised whistle blower Edward Snowden for "tearing off Washington's sanctimonious mask". Whilst many in the west may agree, such strong words will not help Edward nor any case asking to forgive or forget his actions.
There are reports that Snowden is now travelling with British WikiLeaks researcher Sarah Harrison and in Moscow, but for now his exact location is a mystery. The US has taken a slight step back saying it does not want confrontation with Russia and asking that country to stay calm but hand Snowden over.
The Obama administration are in a pickle now. They need Russia and China on board, at least in part, to fufil their mission in Syria and to maintain peace in the Korean peninsula. Then there are trade deals and the like.
However, no matter how the story is spun the US want to get their hands on Snowden before he releases more of their "secrets and lies". How they act now could be crucial as to other would be whistle blowers also. How countries such as Russia, China and those in South America respond will also be carefully watched.
The most likely scenario is that Edward is not literally on Russian soil as he is still holed up in an airport terminal in Moscow; for how much longer though, who can tell?