Snowden 'requests asylum in Russia'

Snowden 'requests asylum in Russia'
Edward Snowden

US security whistleblower Edward Snowden has asked for temporary asylum in Russia, according to reports.

Russia’s state RIA Novosti news agency quoted lawyer Anatoly Kucherena as saying that Snowden submitted the asylum request to Russia’s Federal Migration Service. The service had no immediate comment.

The lawyer said Snowden made the move after a meeting at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.

Snowden has been stuck in Sheremetyevo’s transit zone since he arrived from Hong Kong on June 23.

The former National Security Agency worker said last week at a meeting with Russian rights activists and public figures that he would seek at least temporary refuge in Russia until he could fly to one of the Latin American nations that have offered him asylum.

Mr Kucherena, a member of the Public Chamber, a Kremlin advisory body, said Russian law contains no specific time frame for considering an asylum request.

Snowden’s stay in Russia has strained already chilly relations between Moscow and Washington. Granting him asylum would further aggravate tensions with the US less than two months before president Vladimir Putin and president Barack Obama meet in Moscow and again at the G20 summit in St Petersburg.

Mr Putin yesterday described Snowden’s arrival as an unwelcome present foisted on Russia by the United States. He said Snowden flew to Moscow intending only to travel on to another country, but the US intimidated other countries into refusing to accept him, effectively blocking the fugitive from flying further.

Snowden previously sought Russian asylum, which Mr Putin said would be granted only if he agreed not to leak more information. Snowden then withdrew the bid, the Kremlin said.

During Friday’s meeting in Sheremetyevo’s transit zone, Snowden argued that he had not hurt US interests in the past and has no intention of doing that.

Mr Putin did not say if that would be sufficient grounds for asylum, adding that Snowden apparently did not want to stay in Russia permanently.

Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua have offered Snowden asylum, but getting there from Moscow without passing through US air space or that of Washington’s allies would be difficult. The US has annulled his passport.

More on this topic

US government files lawsuit against Edward Snowden over new bookUS government files lawsuit against Edward Snowden over new book

Plane 'was waiting to fly Edward Snowden to US'Plane 'was waiting to fly Edward Snowden to US'

Snowden: I'd like to go homeSnowden: I'd like to go home

US spy agency 'collected 200 million texts a day'US spy agency 'collected 200 million texts a day'


More in this Section

Ghislaine Maxwell to appear in court on bail applicationGhislaine Maxwell to appear in court on bail application

Collapsing tree narrowly misses pedestrians at London crossroadsCollapsing tree narrowly misses pedestrians at London crossroads

Hot dog champions set world records at famous food festHot dog champions set world records at famous food fest

Boris Johnson leads UK-wide applause for NHS to mark 72nd anniversaryBoris Johnson leads UK-wide applause for NHS to mark 72nd anniversary


Lifestyle

On June 26, we sat outside the first bar to open here since lockdown began on March 15. There are only two bars in the valley. Cafes serve drinks, but these are bar-bars, the kind that stay open after midnight.Damien Enright: Fruit trees are laden with their bounty as we prepare to leave

In October 1986, 52 mute swans, living peacefully on the Tolka in Dublin, were drenched in diesel oil accidentally released into the river. Swan-catchers went into action; only one bird died before they reached it.Richard Collins: Human crisis will offer chance for wild animal research

It's a typically Irish summer’s day of sunshine and occasional showers. Travel restrictions have been eased again and we venture forth to one of nature’s gems, Gougane Barra, deep in the mountains of West Cork.Donal Hickey: Gougane Barra has peace and wildness

When the ferryman pulls away from the pier and the salty spray of the sea hits your face the feeling of release from the mainland is deeply pleasurable. Your island awaits. Whether for a day trip or a holiday, the lure of the islands is as magnetic as ever.The Islands of Ireland: The lure of the less-visited

More From The Irish Examiner