World News

Snowden Seeking Temporary Russian Asylum, Kremlin May Agree

Former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden is seeking temporary asylum in Russia until he can travel to Latin America -- and the Kremlin is indicating it might let him stay in the country if he stops leaking details about clandestine American surveillance programs.

The 30-year-old Snowden met Friday with human rights activists and Russian lawyers at a Moscow airport. Later, the secret-disclosing group WikiLeaks posted a statement from Snowden saying he wanted to stay in Russia until he could safely go to Latin America.

Three leftist governments there -- Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua -- have offered him asylum. But Snowden has been blocked from traveling anywhere because American officials have revoked his passport and want him extradited to the United States to stand trial on espionage charges.

Snowden -- encamped in a transit area at Sheremetyevo airport for nearly three weeks -- had previously expressed interest in seeking asylum in Russia. But he withdrew the bid after Russian President Vladimir Putin said the request would only be considered if Snowden agreed to stop leaking details about the U.S. surveillance programs being conducted by the National Security Agency.

As details of his airport meeting became public, the Kremlin reiterated that Snowden could stay in Russia if he stopped the disclosures.



Snowden called the meeting at the airport to talk about what he says is "threatening behavior" by the United States to keep him from gaining asylum. Several human rights activists attended, including representatives of the Russian offices of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, attorneys and a Russian lawmaker.

Snowden has not been seen publicly since he arrived at Sheremetyevo June 23 after a flight from Hong Kong. In a picture released from the meeting, Snowden looked well, and much like he did during his stay in Hong Kong.

Russia has refused to release Snowden to U.S. custody, with Mr. Putin urging him to depart for another country.

One of the activists at the airport meeting, Tatiana Lokshina of Human Rights Watch, quoted Snowden as saying that he did not have any problem with restrictions on his activities if he can stay in Russia because he does not feel he has damaged the U.S., a contention pointedly rejected by Washington.



"In fact he said that he would immediately ask for an asylum here in Russia. He would file his official claim right away, and he wanted the organizations present to intervene with President Putin in support of his asylum claim. He also said that he did not find Putin's remark as regards to the possibility of his getting asylum in Russia problematic because, as he says, he did not do any harm to the United States and he was not planning to do any damage. So yes, he wants to stay here officially, but he perceives it as a temporary state because eventually he would want to move to Latin America.''



Earlier this week, Snowden explained his disclosure of clandestine American surveillance programs in a newly released segment of a video recorded last month. Britain's Guardian newspaper released the video Tuesday of a June 6 interview conducted in Hong Kong.

Snowden said in the video that he knew the United States would accuse him of espionage in alerting the country's enemies of the surveillance. But he said the United States is also at fault for monitoring the phone records of its citizens and keeping track of Internet connections with possible terrorists.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs