MOSCOW, July 24 (RIA Novosti) – Fugitive US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden will stay in the Moscow airport that has been his home for over a month now for the immediate future, a lawyer helping with his asylum bid said Wednesday.
Lawyer Anatoly Kucherena spoke to journalists at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on Wednesday afternoon after meeting with Snowden.
In an impromptu news conference broadcast on Russian TV, Kucherena said that Snowden’s application for temporary asylum is under consideration, it has not been refused, and that they hope for a swift resolution.
In the meantime, Kucherena said, Snowden will stay where he is: the transit zone of Sheremetyevo airport.
The lawyer’s statements followed Russian media reports ahead of the meeting that cited unnamed sources in the Russian migration authorities and at the airport as saying that Snowden had been issued with a document that would allow him to leave the airport.
Shedding light on this confusion, Kucherena said that Russia’s migration service has not issued Snowden a permit to leave the transit zone. He added that he is in daily contact with the Russian migration authorities over permission for Snowden to leave the airport.
Kucherena also said that Snowden intends to stay in Russia for some time and become more familiar with the country and its culture.
Snowden, who is wanted by the United States for leaking classified data about the US National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, formally requested temporary asylum in Russia on July 16.
He has been holed up in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo Airport since arriving there on a flight from Hong Kong on June 23.