US surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden has requested temporary asylum in Russia, according to his lawyer.
Snowden is currently holed up in the transit area at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.
He has been offered shelter in a number of Latin American countries and has indicated he intends to travel there.
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about the situation to students during a visit to an island in the Gulf of Finland.
“Initially we told him – you can stay if you want, but you must stop your political activities. We have certain relations with the United States and we do not want your activities to damage our relations with the US. He said “no”. As soon as he has an opportunity to move elsewhere he will certainly do so. He knows the terms of granting political asylum,” said the president.
The US has charged Snowden with leaking classified information and demanded Moscow return the fugitive.