23 June 2013, 19:43

Ecuadorian Ambassador to meet Snowden in Moscow

Diplomatic Ecuador car at Sheremetyevo airport
Diplomatic Ecuador car at Sheremetyevo airport
Diplomatic Ecuador car at Sheremetyevo airport

Ecuador's ambassador to Russia said he expected to have talks with former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden in Moscow on Sunday.

Ambassador Patricio Alberto Chavez Zavala did not say what he would discuss with Snowden and Sarah Harrison, a representative of the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group.

But he told reporters as he entered an airport hotel: "We're waiting for Sarah. We're going to talk to them."

Ecuador is a possible destination for Snowden, who is believed to have flown from Hong Kong to Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport earlier on Sunday.

Ecuador's Foreign Minister says in his Twitter that Ecuador already has received asylum request from Edward Snowden.

Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said on Sunday that former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden had asked Ecuador for asylum.

"The Government of Ecuador has received an asylum request from Edward J. #Snowden," Patino, who is on an official visit to Vietnam, said on Twitter.

Meanwhile ABC reports that Snowden's passport was revoked on Saturday, leaving US officials even more baffled as to how he was allowed to fly out from Hong Kong.

It is, however, unlikely to be a problem for Russia – if Snowden is in transit and never leaves the airport, his immigration status is not Moscow's issue.

Snowden transferring to 'third country' via Moscow. LIVE UPDATES

Security tightened at Sheremetyevo Airport after Snowden's arrival

Unprecedented security measures have been taken at the Sheremetyevo Airport in connection with former CIA officer Edward Snowden's arrival, a source familiar with the situation told Interfax.

"All necessary security measures have been taken to maintain Snowden's security and to guarantee his safe departure. Everything has been done to allow Snowden to spend the night peacefully at the airport's capsule hotel and to fly quietly to Cuba," the source said.

Reports said earlier that Snowed is currently at the Sheremetyevo Airport. "Snowden is a transit passenger who will fly to Cuba.

He is currently at the airport, where he ought to be while waiting for his next flight," the source said.

A source in Aeroflot told Interfax that Snowden had booked a room in a capsule hotel at Sheremetyevo Airport's Terminal E.

"He has arrived, but he cannot leave the terminal as he has no Russian visa," he said, adding that, WikiLeaks representative Sara Harrison, who is accompanying Snowden, has a Russian visa.

Without a visa former CIA officer Edward Snowden will not be able to leave the Sheremetyevo airport, where he arrived from Hong Kong, an airport source told Interfax.

"Snowden cannot be taken out of the airport even in a diplomatic car since he has neither an ordinary, nor a diplomatic visa," he said.

Ecuadoran diplomats whose car was seen at the airport, could have arrived either for talks with Snowden, or for a meeting with WikiLeaks lawyers, who have visas, he said.

At present ex-CIA officer Edward Snowden is still at Sheremetyevo Airport, a source in the airport's services told Interfax.

"Snowden is a transit passenger who will fly to Cuba. He is currently at the airport, where he ought to be while waiting for his next flight," the source said.

A source in Aeroflot told Interfax that Snowden had booked a room in a capsule hotel at Sheremetyevo Airport's Terminal E.

"He has arrived, but he cannot leave the terminal as he has no Russian visa," he said, adding that, WikiLeaks representative Sara Harrison, who is accompanying Snowden, has a Russian visa.

A diplomat of the Ecuadoran embassy arrived at Terminal F, but left after spending some time at the airport.

Ecuador once granted refuge to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in its embassy in London, and it was named by the media among the countries Snowden may travel to.

Meanwhile Chairman of the State Duma's International Affairs Committee Alexei Pushkov does not think Moscow's readiness to consider granting political refuge to ex-CIA officer Edward Snowden would be a bounce back to the Cold War.

"It was strange to hear that Snowden is flying to Moscow from Hong Kong as an ordinary passenger. The U.S,. wants him very much, but China did not surrender him," Pushkov wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

"Speculations have got round that Russia's possible consent to grant political refugee to Snowden would be an act of Cold War. If spying wearing a wig is a norm, the granting of political refuge is not an act, either," Pushkov said.

The daily Kommersant earlier reported that if Snowden, who leaked data about American special services' surveillance on the Internet, applies for political refuge in Russia, the request would be considered.

Meanwhile, a source close to Snowden told Interfax that he would travel to Venezuela via Moscow and Havana.

He has chosen this complicated route hoping that he would not be detained and quietly reach the point of destination - Venezuela.

So he will have to make two stopovers, flying from Hong Kong to Moscow, from Moscow to Havana and from Havana to Caracas, he said.

Snowden in Russian airspace - WikiLeaks

Former US intelligence operative Edward Snowden is in Russian airspace, whistleblowing website WikiLeaks said on Sunday after earlier announcing that it had helped him to secure political asylum in a "democratic country".

"Mr Snowden is currently over Russian airspace accompanied by WikiLeaks legal advisors," WikiLeaks said on Twitter.

It said earlier it had assisted him with "political asylum in a democratic country, travel papers and safe exit from Hong Kong".

Nobody will detain Snowden at Sheremetyevo, if his visa is alright - police

The police at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport don't plan to detain former CIA employee Edward Snowden when he arrives in Moscow.

"We have not received any instructions concerning this person, however, in order to enter Russian territory he should have a valid visa," Interfax was told at the police unit of the airport.

Snowden's ultimate destination Venezuela where he will fly to from Moscow with stopover in Havana

A source with the Aeroflot airlines confirmed that the a man named Snowden was listed among passengers of Flight Su213 bound for Moscow. According to the source, the same passenger is to leave for Cuba on June 24 aboard Aeroflot Flight SU150.

Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee charged with espionage in the United States, is flying to Cuba via Moscow, a source close to Snowden said.

"He has departed on a direct flight for Moscow and will be there in the evening. But he will not stay in Moscow long. He discussed an option of further transit to Cuba," the source added.

However, Snowden will decide himself on his ultimate destination.

"It is not known exactly where he will decide to fly to from Moscow. Maybe he will want to remain in Moscow," the source added.

Meanwhile, a source at Aeroflot has confirmed to Interfax that there is a passenger with the name of Snowden on the SU213 flight to Moscow.

He said that on June 24 the same passenger is flying to Cuba on the SU150 flight.

WikiLeaks says assists Snowden's political asylum in 'democratic country'

Whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks has rallied behind Snowden and said they are assisting him in his bid for political asylum in a “democratic country.”

The group announced on Twitter that they helped obtain “travel documents” and ensured his safe exit from Hong Kong.

A member of the WikiLeaks legal team is also accompanying the NSA leaker on his flight to Moscow.

HK confirms Snowden to fly through Moscow to 'third country'

Hong Kong has confirmed US intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden will fly through Moscow to a "third country". A spokesperson from the Hong Kong government confirmed to press that Edward Snowden had "legally and voluntarily" left the country. Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said on Sunday that he was unaware of the location or plans of former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

“Mr. Edward Snowden left Hong Kong today (June 23) on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel,” said the Hong Kong government in a press release. The statement also said the documents for Snowden’s extradition submitted by Washington “did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law.”

“As the HKSAR Government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr. Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.”

The only Aeroflot flight that arrives from Hong Kong into Moscow’s Sheremetevo airport today is at 17:05 local time (13:05 GMT).

Snowden left lawfully 'on his own accord' - Hong Kong

A spokesperson from the Hong Kong government confirmed to press that Edward Snowden had "legally and voluntarily" left the country.

Former US intelligence technician Edward Snowden departed Hong Kong on Sunday through "legal" means, the local government confirmed.

"Snowden today voluntarily left Hong Kong for a third country through legal and normal means," a Hong Kong government spokesman said in a press statement.

The statement added that Hong Kong had "not obtained adequate information" to handle a provisional arrest warrant for Snowden issued by the United States.

Snowden leaves Hong Kong on Aeroflot flight to Moscow

US whistleblower Edward Snowden is en route to Moscow from Hong Kong on an Aeroflot flight, reports AFP.

Former US intelligence technician Edward Snowden is en route from Hong Kong to Moscow heading to a third destination, the South China Morning Post reported Sunday.

"US whistleblower Edward Snowden has left Hong Kong on an Aeroflot flight to Moscow, credible sources have confirmed to the South China Morning Post," the newspaper, which has carried exclusive interviews with Snowden in Hong Kong, said in a brief report on its website.

"Moscow will not be his final destination," it said, raising the possibility of Iceland or Ecuador as Snowden's final destination.

Kremlin unaware of Snowden’s plans

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said on Sunday that he was unaware of the location or plans of former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Snowden didn’t ask for asylum last week – Russian diplomat

The former US intelligence worker and the man at the center of global data scooping scandal, Edward Snowden, didn’t ask Russia to grant him political asylum last week, Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency has cited an unnamed diplomatic source as saying Sunday

“We lodged no pleas from Snowden last week and till the end of Friday,” the diplomat was quoted as saying.

United States urges Hong Kong to act soon on Snowden extradition

The United States pressured Hong Kong on Saturday to act soon on its request to extradite former U.S. government contractor Edward Snowden to face espionage charges.

"If Hong Kong doesn't act soon, it will complicate our bilateral relations and raise questions about Hong Kong's commitment to the rule of law," said a senior Obama administration official.

US 'expects' Hong Kong to extradite NSA leaker Snowden

The United States has gone to Hong Kong authorities seeking the extradition of Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor who exposed secret U.S. surveillance programs, outgoing White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said on Saturday.

Donilon said the White House expects Hong Kong to move forward with the extradition.

"We believe that the charges presented, present a good case for extradition under the treaty, the extradition treaty between the United States and Hong Kong," Donilon told CBS Radio News White House correspondent Mark Knoller. "Hong Kong has been a historically good partner of the United States in law enforcement matters, and we expect them to comply with the treaty in this case."

Voice of Russia, AFP, Reuters, CBS News, RT, AFP, TASS, RIA, Interfax

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