Snowden Officially Applies for Russian Asylum, Putin Says He Wants Him Out
Putin has had enough of Snowden causing a ruckus in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. The Russian president said Monday that he hopes the NSA leaker will leave the country as soon as possible, adding that he doesn't want the situation to cause rifts between the Kremlin and the White House—just as Snowden files for asylum in Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin made the remarks during a visit to the Gulf of Finland Monday, pointedly adding that it was the U.S. that put the whistleblower in his current situation.
"He arrived on our territory without an invitation—we didn't invite him," Putin said. "And he was not flying to us—he was flying in transit to other countries...As soon as it's possible for him to go somewhere, I hope he will go," the Russian President added.
But Putin also reiterated his unwillingness to damage Russian-U.S. relations because of the leaker.
"From the start, we made him an offer: If you want to stay, go ahead, but you will have to cease your political activities. We have certain relations with the United States and we don't want you to harm the relationship with the U.S. with your activities," Putin said.
Now, it looks like Snowden has finally accepted the conditions. On Tuesday, the fugitive officially handed over a political asylum request to a human rights lawyer he met last Friday, RT reports.
Snowden's been stuck in Sheremetyevo's transit zone since June 23, when he flew from Hong Kong and stopped over in Moscow, at which point the U.S. revoked his passport. On Friday, the whistleblower had a meeting with human rights activists, and said that that he would seek temporary refuge in Russia until he could get to one of the Latin American countries that have offered him asylum.
The application will take a few days to process, but if it's a approved, Snowden will have the right to stay in Russia for a year, after which he could potentially extend the term for another 12 months. Certainly beats the transit lounge.