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Lawyer: Snowden Could Leave Moscow Airport Within A Week

A general view of the terminal F of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport where Edward Snowden remains.

Terminal F of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport where Edward Snowden remains.

A day after submitting an application for temporary asylum in Russia, the lawyer representing Edward Snowden tells Russia's Interfax news agency that the NSA leaker could leave the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport within a week.

Reuters reports:

"Anatoly Kucherena, who is helping Snowden with his request for temporary asylum in Russia, told Reuters he believed the American would be able to leave the transit zone at Sheremetyevo, which Moscow considers neutral territory, and indicated he expected him to stay in Russia for the time being."

This news comes just after Russian President Vladimir Putin said U.S.-Russian relations are more important than the Snowden case.

Russia Today, a state-funded English-language news service, reports that when asked whether Russia was trying to control Snowden, Putin said he would not give any details.

"We have warned Snowden that any activity of his that could damage U.S.-Russian relations is unacceptable for us," Putin said.

USA Today says Russia is walking a diplomatic tightrope here: "Granting Snowden asylum would add new tensions to U.S.-Russian relations already strained by criticism of Russia's pressure on opposition groups, Moscow's suspicion of U.S. missile-defense plans and Russia's resistance to sanctions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad."

If you're keeping count, Snowden has been at the Moscow airport for about three weeks now. The U.S. has revoked his passport and issued extradition requests. Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela have all offered Snowden asylum.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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