Moments ago, newswires reported that Edward Snowden finally received official permission to leave Moscow airport. And following his exile in the transit terminal which has lasted more than a month through this morning, he wasted no time in getting out.
FLASH: Fugitive Edward Snowden has left Moscow airport - RIA news agency quotes airport representative— Reuters India (@ReutersIndia) August 1, 2013
Fugitive Edward Snowden has left Moscow airport and entered Russian soil - Airport representative tells Reuters— Reuters India (@ReutersIndia) August 1, 2013
Sheremetyevo Airport says Edward Snowden left one and a half to two hours ago— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) August 1, 2013
WSJ adds that despite previous theatrical posturing by Putin that the Russian president may just return Snowden to the US, the Kremlin has after all granted the whistleblower with a 1 year asylum.
Snowden has received asylum for a year in Russia and has left Moscow airport, his lawyer said. http://t.co/Wdy2SYXvSt— WSJ Breaking News (@WSJbreakingnews) August 1, 2013
AP with more:
A Russian lawyer for Edward Snowden says the National Security Agency leaker has received asylum in Russia for one year and left the transit zone of Moscow' airport.
Anatoly Kucherena said he handed over the papers to Snowden on Thursday. He said Snowden left Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport where he was stuck since his arrival from Hong Kong on June 23.
Kucherena said that Snowden's whereabouts will be kept secret for security reasons.
The U.S. has demanded that Russia send Snowden home to face prosecution for espionage, but President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the request.
Putin had said that Snowden could receive asylum in Russia on condition he stops leaking U.S. secrets. Kucherena has said Snowden accepted the condition.
And from the WSJ:
National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has received asylum for a year in Russia and has left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, his lawyer said on Thursday.
Anatoly Kucherena, a lawyer who has been representing Mr. Snowden in Moscow, said the U.S. fugitive received so-called “temporary asylum” for a period of one year that allows him to remain and live on Russian territory. Temporary asylum is usually issued in Russia for renewable one-year periods.
“I already escorted him out of the airport into a taxi,” the lawyer said. He declined to say where his client went.