Russian Officials Likely to Extend Asylum for Edward Snowden
Migration advisor: "Snowden’s life is still in danger"
Edward Snowden is seeking to extend his stay in Russia, where he has been granted asylum from the U.S. after releasing documents on the NSA's surveillance programs around the world, and officials at the Kremlin confirmed to state media that the new permit is likely to be approved.
“I do not see any problem in extending the temporary political asylum,” migration official Vladimir Volokh told the Russian news service Interfax. “Circumstances have not changed. Snowden’s life is still in danger; therefore the Federal Migration Service has every basis to prolong his status.”
Snowden initially took refuge in Moscow in 2013, where he became stranded on his way to Cuba, after U.S. officials revoked his passport and charged him with espionage and theft of government property.
After five weeks in an airport, Snowden received a year-long grant to stay in Russia. The permit expires on July 31. Snowden's attorney, Anatoly Kucherena, told state media on Wednesday that the documents to extend his client's stay have been filed.
U.S. authorities have not been able to determine Snowden's specific location in Russia or how much contact he has with its government or security services. As the Washington Post reported, the U.S. will have trouble catching Snowden without a crucial misstep on his part, as it is unlikely that the Russian government will extradite him at the request of the U.S.
Snowden has also expressed interest in seeking asylum in other countries, including several in South America, but risks being sent home to face trial if he travels outside of Russia and is forced to stop in a U.S.-allied nation.