NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden applies for 'temporary asylum' in Russia as Putin blames US for 'trapping' him

The Russian President claims the former CIA computer technician turned down an offer of asylum contingent on him leaking no further classified information

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked information revealing the extent to which the US government monitored private individuals, has applied for temporary asylum in Russia, according to his lawyer.

The former computer technician for the CIA and US National Security Agency has reportedly been living in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport for the past three weeks and has so far been unsuccessful in applications for asylum.

He is wanted by the US to face criminal charges related to his leaking of classified information revealing the country's wide-reaching internet surveillance program.

On Friday, he said he was in the process of applying for temporary asylum in Russia, with the ultimate aim of seeking refuge in South America.

President Obama has been in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin to try to prevent Russia from granting Snowden asylum, while also putting pressure on countries such as Venezuela and Nicaragua to not take him in.

Speaking to students, Putin said that the United States was effectively to blame for trapping Snowden in Russia by intimidating other countries who may have granted him asylum.

“He arrived on our territory without an invitation,” Putin said. “He didn’t fly to us; he flew in transit to other countries. But only when it became known that he was in the air, our American partners, in fact, blocked him from flying further.

“They themselves scared all other countries; no one wants to take him, and in this way they themselves in fact blocked him on our territory.”

Putin made the comments while on a visit to Hogland Island in the Gulf of Finland to review projects being carried out by the Russian Geographical Society.

He claimed that Russia had invited Snowden to apply for asylum on the condition that he stop his political activities, presumed to mean the leaking of classified information taken from the United States.

“Initially, we offered him, ‘If you want to stay, please, but you have to stop your political activities. We have a certain relationship with the US, and we don’t want you with your political activities damaging our relationship with the US’

“He said ‘No, I want to continue my work. I want to fight for human rights. I believe that the United States violated certain norms of international law, interfered with private life.’"

Wikileaks, the whistleblowing website which has been supporting Snowden confirmed the news on Twitter, posting: "Edward Snowden today has filed for a temporary protection visa with Russia's ministry of immigration."

The application will be seen as a PR coup for Russia which, despite Putin's show of support, still has a frosty relationship with the US.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If
filmReview: Actor swaps Harry Potter for Cary Grant in What If
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment