MOSCOW — Fugitive document-leaker Edward Snowden met with human rights activists and lawyers at Sheremetyevo Airport on Friday, and told them he would apply for political asylum in Russia, where he has been stranded since June 23.
Human Rights Watch activist Tatyana Lokshina, who was in the meeting, said Snowden would accept a demand from Russian President Vladmir Putin that he refrain from releasing harmful information about the United States while on Russian soil.
Officials fear that Snowden gained access to sensitive files that outline espionage operations against Chinese leaders and other critical targets.
“He feels it is impossible to travel anywhere, so for the time being he is asking for asylum here,” Lokshina said. Eventually, she added, the 30-year-old former contractor for the National Security Agency still hopes to be granted asylum in Latin America.
Lokshina said Snowden “has no problem with Putin’s condition, because he does not believe he damaged the United States, or is damaging it.”