- 26 updates
Former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia after three weeks holed up at a Moscow airport trying to avoid prosecution in the United States.
"He reached the conclusion that he needs to write an application for temporary asylum (in Russia), and this procedure has just been done," Anatoly Kucherena, a lawyer who met Snowden on Friday along with human rights activists, told Reuters.
"For now he is not going to go anywhere. For now he plans to stay in Russia," he said.
Snowden is seeking refuge in Latin America after leaking details of US government surveillance programmes, but has not risked taking any flight that might be intercepted by the United States.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the situation around Edward Snowden was unresolved and he hoped the NSA whistleblower leaves once he gets the chance, according to Reuters.
Russia has not yet received a formal request for political asylum from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the country's foreign minister said.
Mr Snowden said on Friday he would apply for asylum in Russia during his first appearance since fleeing to Moscow.
Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Kyrgyzstan: "We are not in contact with Snowden".
The US State Department has warned relations with Russia would be affected if it granted asylum to US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.
But the spokesman added: "However we are not at that point yet. They still have the opportunity to do the right thing and return Mr Snowden to the United States and that's what our hope is."
US President Barack Obama will speak to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin later today about Edward Snowden's bid for asylum in Russia, the White House has announced.
The US state department said it is "disappointed" that Russia facilitated a meeting between fugitive Edward Snowden and rights activists at Moscow airport today, Reuters reported.
Fugitive Edward Snowden said he does not regret leaking information about US surveillance operations, despite its "costly" impact.
"That moral decision to tell the public about spying that affects all of us has been costly, but it was the right thing to do and I have no regrets," he said.
Edward Snowden said he has asked Russia to give him asylum until he is able to travel to Latin America:
Intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden said he has been offered asylum by Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, but he added that it is "impossible" for him to travel across the Atlantic:
Edward Snowden confirmed that he has sought asylum in Russia, in a statement released by Wikileaks: