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Russia: Snowden has requested asylum in Ecuador

by - Published: at 10:45 am
Modified: Jun 23, 2013 at 10:45 am
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Edward Snowden has requested asylum in Ecuador, Ecuador’s foreign minister wrote on Twitter, worldwide media reported. Previously, US whistleblower Edward Snowden arrived in Moscow on Sunday en route to an undisclosed destination. According to WikiLeaks, unidentified diplomats are escorting Snowden in his bid to secure political asylum in a country yet to be disclosed.

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

Unprecedented security measures have been taken at the Sheremetyevo Airport in connection with former CIA officer Edward Snowden’s arrival, a source familiar with the situation told Interfax.

“All necessary security measures have been taken to maintain Snowden’s security and to guarantee his safe departure. Everything has been done to allow Snowden to spend the night peacefully at the airport’s capsule hotel and to fly quietly to Cuba,” the source said.

“Snowden is a transit passenger who will fly to Cuba. He is currently at the airport, where he ought to be while waiting for his next flight,” the source said.

A source in Aeroflot told Interfax that Snowden had booked a room in a capsule hotel at Sheremetyevo Airport’s Terminal E.

“He has arrived, but he cannot leave the terminal as he has no Russian visa,” he said, adding that, WikiLeaks representative Sara Harrison, who is accompanying Snowden, has a Russian visa.

Ecuador’s ambassador to Russia said he expected to have talks with former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden in Moscow on Sunday.

Ambassador Patricio Alberto Chavez Zavala did not say what he would discuss with Snowden and Sarah Harrison, a representative of the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group.

But he told reporters as he entered an airport hotel: “We’re waiting for Sarah. We’re going to talk to them.”

Ecuador is a possible destination for Snowden, who is believed to have flown from Hong Kong to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport earlier on Sunday.

Meanwhile Chairman of the State Duma’s International Affairs Committee Alexei Pushkov does not think Moscow’s readiness to consider granting political refuge to ex-CIA officer Edward Snowden would be a bounce back to the Cold War.

“It was strange to hear that Snowden is flying to Moscow from Hong Kong as an ordinary passenger. The U.S,. wants him very much, but China did not surrender him,” Pushkov wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

“Speculations have got round that Russia’s possible consent to grant political refugee to Snowden would be an act of Cold War. If spying wearing a wig is a norm, the granting of political refuge is not an act, either,” Pushkov said.

On Sunday, the US Justice Department said that it will seek the cooperation of law enforcement authorities in countries where former NSA computer technician Edward Snowden may travel.

Justice Department spokeswoman Nanda Chitre said Snowden had left Hong Kong “for a third country” despite a US extradition request.

“We will continue to discuss this matter with Hong Kong and pursue relevant law enforcement cooperation with other countries where Mr. Snowden may be attempting to travel,” Chitre said.

Previously, a spokesperson from the Hong Kong government confirmed to press that Edward Snowden had “legally and voluntarily” left the country.

“Snowden today voluntarily left Hong Kong for a third country through legal and normal means,” a Hong Kong government spokesman said in a press statement.

The statement added that Hong Kong had “not obtained adequate information” to handle a provisional arrest warrant for Snowden issued by the United States.

The police at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport don’t plan to detain former CIA employee Edward Snowden when he arrives in Moscow.

“We have not received any instructions concerning this person, however, in order to enter Russian territory he should have a valid visa,” Interfax was told at the police unit of the airport.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said on Sunday that he was unaware of the location or plans of former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, Voice of Russia reported.

According to Voice of Russia,  a source close to Snowden said that he is flying to Cuba via Moscow.

“He has departed on a direct flight for Moscow and will be there in the evening. But he will not stay in Moscow long. He discussed an option of further transit to Cuba,” the source added.

However, Snowden will decide himself on his ultimate destination.

“It is not known exactly where he will decide to fly to from Moscow. Maybe he will want to remain in Moscow,” the source added.

Meanwhile, a source at Aeroflot has confirmed to Interfax that there is a passenger with the name of Snowden on the SU213 flight to Moscow. He said that on June 24 the same passenger is flying to Cuba on the SU150 flight.

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