Moscow: U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden has left a transit zone of a Moscow airport and entered Russia after authorities granted him a temporary asylum, his lawyer said on Thursday.
Anatoly Kucherena said that Mr. Snowden’s whereabouts will be kept secret for security reasons. The former NSA systems analyst was stuck at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport since his arrival from Hong Kong on June 23, 2013.
The U.S. has demanded that Russia send Mr. Snowden home to face prosecution for espionage, but President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the request.
Mr. Putin had said that Mr. Snowden could receive asylum in Russia on condition he stops leaking U.S. secrets. Mr. Kucherena has said Mr. Snowden accepted the condition.
The Guardian newspaper on Wednesday published a new report on U.S. intelligence-gathering based on information from Mr. Snowden, but Mr. Kucherena said the material was provided before Mr. Snowden promised to stop leaking.
Mr. Snowden, who revealed details of a U.S. intelligence programme to monitor Internet activity, has received offers of asylum from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia and said he would like to visit those countries. However, the logistics of reaching any of those countries are complicated because his U.S. passport has been revoked.
The Snowden case has further strained U.S.-Russian ties already tense amid differences over Syria, U.S. criticism of Russia’s human rights record and other issues.
Mr. Snowden’s father said in remarks broadcast on Wednesday on a Russian television that he would like to visit his son. Mr. Kucherena said he is arranging the trip.