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Snowden has document to enter Russia: Report

Snowden has document to enter Russia: Report

Moscow: National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden has been given a document that allows him to leave the transit zone of a Moscow airport and enter Russia, Russia’s state news agency said on Wednesday.

Mr Snowden applied for temporary asylum in Russia last week after his attempts to leave the airport and fly out of Russia were thwarted. The United States wants him sent home to face prosecution for espionage.

Mr Snowden, who revealed details of NSA’s wide-ranging spying activities targeting data and phone communication, is believed to have been staying at the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport since June 23, when he arrived on a flight from Hong Kong.

RIA Novosti quoted an unnamed security official on Wednesday as saying that Mr 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 Mr Snowden, would meet with the NSA leaker later on Wednesday.

President Vladimir Putin has said that Mr Snowden can be granted asylum in Russia only if he stops leaking secrets.

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

Granting Mr 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-defence plans and Russia’s resistance to sanctions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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