Russia is keeping Snowden at arm’s length. Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggest that Russia is considering its options after Snowden, who is stranded at Moscow airport, asked for refuge until he can secure safe passage to Latin America.
Speaking to gethered reporters at the airport, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: “You know, we are not in contact with Snowden and the issues he discussed with human rights activists were widely reported in the media. I heard about them in the same way as everyone else. To obtain political asylum under Russian law you have to go through specific procedures. The first step in this process is to make a formal appeal to the Federal Migration Service.”
Snowden previously applied for asylum in Russia, but withdrew his application when the Russian Government imposed a condition to stop leaking secrets. He wasn’t prepared to do that, but now he is. At least, until he can get to Latin America.
Speaking with members of activist group Human Rights Watch, Edward Snowden said: “I did not seek to enrich myself. I did not seek to sell U.S. secrets. I did not partner with any foreign government to guarantee my safety. (…)
I ask for your assistance in requesting guarantees of safe passage from the relevant nations in securing my passage to Latin America as well as requesting asylum in Russia until such time as these states accede to law, and my legal travel is permitted.”
Edward Snowden’s leaked information exposed widespread surveillance. He’s been on the run ever since, spending three weeks holed up at Moscow Airport.