Reports: Snowden Is Awaiting Paperwork, Will Stay In Moscow Airport

UPDATED: Edward Snowden has not yet been issued documents allowing him to leave a Moscow airport. Earlier reports said he would leave Wednesday.

The Guardian / Reuters

Updated - 10:50 AM, EST


Following earlier reports that Edward Snowden had been issued documents that will allow him to leave the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, his attorney now says says Snowden’s asylum status has not been resolved and he will stay at the airport for now.

The former government contractor, who leaked top secret information about U.S. government surveillance programs, has been living in the airport since late June.

On Wednesday morning RIA Novosti quoted an unnamed official saying Russia’s Federal Migration Service issued the documents for Snowden on Wednesday. But Anatoly Kucherena, the attorney advising Snowden, said later that migration officials are still looking at the asylum request.

Snowden applied for temporary asylum in Russia last week after his attempts to leave the airport were thwarted. Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that he wanted Snowden to leave the country, saying he doesn’t want him to strain United States–Russian relations.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Migration Service told the Associated Press they had no information about the status of Snowden’s application for asylum.

The United States wants him sent home to face prosecution for espionage.

Snowden would like to be permitted to travel to Latin America. Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua have all offered him asylum, but traveling there from Moscow would require traveling over U.S. airspace or the airspace of American allies.

Update — Wednesday, 10:35 a.m. ET: Snowden’s lawyer reportedly said he has not been issued the papers at all.

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Lisa Tozzi is the News Director for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact this reporter at lisa.tozzi@buzzfeed.com
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