By Reuters – MOSCOW — Fugitive Hawaii spy agency contractor Edward Snowden’s hopes of leaving Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport for the first time in a month on Wednesday were dashed when he failed to secure permission from Russia to leave.
It was not clear whether there had been a last-minute political intervention or hitch, or the pass had never been in his possession.
Seeking a solution
But Kucherena said he hoped Snowden’s status would be resolved soon. In Washington, the White House said it was seeking clarification of his status.
“I must say he is of course anxious about it and I hope that this situation will be resolved in the nearest future,” Kucherena said at Sheremetyevo airport.
“This is the first time Russia is facing such a situation, and this issue of course requires time for the immigration workers.”
Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela have said they could offer sanctuary to Snowden, who arrived on June 23 from Hong Kong, where he had fled to escape capture and trial in the United States on espionage charges.
But none of the three Latin American countries 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 prosecution and has revoked his passport.
But Russia has refused to send him home and risks damage to relations with the United States if it grants him temporary asylum – a process that could take three months.