NAANTALI, Finland (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden was still in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, was free to leave and should do so as soon as possible.

Putin told a news conference during a visit to Finland that he hoped the affair would not affect relations with Washington, which wants Russia to send him to the United States, but indicated Moscow would not hand him over. He dismissed U.S. accusations against Russia over the case as "rubbish."

(Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk, Writing by Timothy Heritage; Editing by Steve Gutterman)