MOSCOW — Fugitive Edward Snowden, facing charges in the United States for leaking details about secret intelligence surveillance programs, has applied for Russian political asylum, news agencies here reported Monday, quoting a consular officer on duty at Sheremetyevo Airport.
“At 10:30 p.m. yesterday, a British citizen, Sarah Harrison, contacted the consular station of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia,” the Interfax news agency said, quoting a consular officer identified as Kim Shevchenko.
Harrison, a WikiLeaks researcher who accompanied Snowden from Hong Kong to Moscow, handed over Snowden’s request for asylum, Shevchenko told Interfax. The Russian news agency RIA Novosti also quoted Shevchenko, who said the documents were sent to the Foreign Ministry.
That report came shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking to reporters and sounding as if he were opening the way for asylum without appearing too provocative, made a surprising statement.
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