Edward Snowden granted temporary asylum in Russia
National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has left the transit zone of Moscow airport and entered Russia, his lawyer says.
Reports from the Interfax news agency quoted Snowden's Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, saying: "I have just handed him the documents from the Russian Federal Migration Service. They allow him to leave the airport,"
"Snowden has left Sheremetyevo airport.
"He has just been given a certificate that he has been awarded temporary asylum in Russia for one year."
An airport spokeswoman confirmed that he had left the building in the last two hours.
"Edward Snowden has successfully acquired refugee status in Russia," the anti-secrecy organisation WikiLeaks, which is also assisting Snowden, confirmed on Twitter.
In a further tweet they said: "We would like to thank the Russian people and all those others who have helped to protect Mr. Snowden. We have won the battle--now the war."
Snowden, 30, arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23.
He had hoped to fly to Latin America, where three countries have offered to shelter him, but was concerned that the United States would prevent him reaching his destination.
Snowden's case has caused new strains in relations between Russia and the United States which wants him extradited to face espionage charges.
Belfast Telegraph Digital