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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Edward Snowden stuck in a holding pattern at Moscow airport

He's a man without a country -- and after a brief flurry of speculation Wednesday that NSA leaker Edward Snowden might finally be able to exit Moscow airport, he's right back where he started, holed up in the facility's transit zone.
A Russian lawyer was reported planning to meet with Snowden at the airport Wednesday, prompting speculation he would bring documents allowing the former NSA contract employee to formally enter Russia.
Snowden had applied for temporary asylum in Russia last week after his attempts to leave Sheremetyevo airport and fly out of the country were thwarted.
But now it appears that even with new legal papers, he still must wait at the airport while Russian authorities consider his asylum request.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Migration Service told the AP they had no information about the status of Snowden's application for asylum.
Snowden is believed to have been staying at the airport transit zone since June 23, when he arrived on a flight from Hong Kong.
U.S. prosecutors charged Snowden last month with espionage and theft of government property.
On Monday, the U.S. Ambassador in Moscow demanded Russia turn over Snowden.
“Mr. Snowden ought to be returned to the United States to face the felony charges against him,” Ambassador Michael McFaul said via Twitter.
Russian state news agency RIA Novosti quoted an unnamed security official on Wednesday as saying that Snowden has been issued documents, allowing him to formally enter Russia.
Anna Zakharenkova, a spokeswoman for the airport, told The Associated Press that Anatoly Kucherena, a Russian lawyer advising Snowden, would meet with Snowden.
President Vladimir Putin has said that Snowden can be granted asylum in Russia only if he stops leaking secrets.
Granting Snowden asylum would add new tensions to U.S.-Russian relations already strained by criticism of Russia's pressure on opposition groups, Moscow's suspicion of U.S. missile-defense plans and Russia's resistance to sanctions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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