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Snowden asks to extend Russia stay

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has applied to extend his stay in Russia, his lawyer says.

Snowden has applied to Russia's migration authorities because his one-year permit is expiring at the end of July, Anatoly Kucherena said in comments quoted by Russian news agencies.

He became stranded in a Moscow airport last year on his way from Hong Kong to Cuba, shortly after he revealed the US agency's sprawling programme.

He received asylum in Russia, attracting the ire of the United States.

Mr Kucherena said Snowden applied "a long time ago" but refused to say what kind of migration status he is seeking, saying that it is up to the Federal Migration Service.

The American who leaked a trove of material from the top-secret National Security Agency has kept a low profile in Russia. He has never been seen in public or talked to local journalists and his whereabouts are unknown.

Mr Kucherena insisted that the secrecy is necessary for Snowden's protection while sceptics argue he is living under the surveillance of the Russian secret services.

A Kremlin-connected website has published several pictures of Snowden indicating that he either lives in Moscow or visits it often.

He appeared on President Vladimir Putin's call-in show in April when he asked a question about surveillance in a pre-recorded video message.

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