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MOSCOW, July 24 (RIA Novosti) – Fugitive intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has been issued with a document allowing him to leave the transit zone of Russia’s Sheremetyevo Airport, Russian media reported Wednesday.
Russian media cited unnamed sources in Russian law enforcement as saying that a document allowing Snowden to leave the transit zone – provided the border service does not object – was issued to him when he submitted his asylum request.
Snowden, who is wanted by the United States for leaking classified data about the US National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, formally requested temporary asylum in Russia on July 16.
Russia’s Federal Migration Service has so far refrained from giving on-the-record comments on the reports.
Russian media reports also say that Snowden is meeting the lawyer that helped him submit his asylum request at Sheremetyevo Airport on Wednesday afternoon.
Snowden has been holed up in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo Airport since arriving there on a flight from Hong Kong on June 23.
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New ties between Russia and Japan would mark not only a breakthrough in their relations but also a significant shift in Northeast Asia’s political dynamic. Both are secondary players in a region overshadowed by an increasingly assertive China, which has not hesitated to push against the boundaries of its neighbors.