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Snowden Could Leave Moscow Airport Soon
MOSCOW- Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena arrived at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on Wednesday (July 24) to meet fugitive U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.
Snowden could soon leave the airport where he has been holed up for more than a month, after Russian authorities approved the necessary papers, an airport official said.
Immigration services declined comment but the official said Snowden, who is wanted by the United States for leaking details of government intelligence programs, had been handed the documents by a lawyer at Sheremetyevo Airport.
Snowden, 30, arrived in Sheremetyevo from Hong Kong on June 23 and has been stuck in the transit area between the runway and passport control since the United States revoked his passport and urged other countries not to give him refuge.
Snowden's lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, declined to comment as he arrived at the airport.
"I won't make any comments now. I will be able to tell you something after my consultations with Edward. Agreed? Thank you very much," Kucherena said.
But the airport source said that the documents had been handed over.
It was not clear whether he would immediately leave the airport or where he would go in Moscow once he does so.
Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela have said they could offer him sanctuary but none can be reached by a direct commercial flight so Snowden has requested temporary asylum in Russia until he believes he can safely reach one of them.
The United States wants him extradited to face espionage charges. But Russia has refused to send him home and risks further damage to relations with the United States if it grants him temporary asylum - a process which could take three months.