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News services are reporting Edward Snowden's Russian lawyer has stated he was granted a temporary one year visa by the Russian Federation and has left the Moscow Airport transit lounge where he has been in limbo for weeks.

I will update Updated after the fold as with published stories are posted.

Early Reports

Russia Today EN: Snowden granted 1-year asylum in Russia, leaves airport

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been granted temporary asylum in Russia and is allowed to enter the country’s territory. The whistleblower has been granted temporary political asylum in Russia, Snowden's legal representative Anatoly Kucherena said.

“I have just handed over to him papers from the Russian Immigration Service. They are what he needs to leave the transit zone,” he added.

Kucherena showed the document to the press. According to it, Snowden is free to stay in Russia until at least July 31, 2014. His asylum status may be extended annually upon request.

Snowden departed at around 15.30 Moscow time (11.30 GMT), airport sources said. His departure came some 30 minutes before his new refugee status was officially announced. His present location has not been made public nor will it be disclosed, Kucherena said.

“He is the most wanted person on earth and his security will be a priority,” the attorney explained. “He will deal with personal security issues and lodging himself. I will just consult him as his lawyer.”

Snowden eventually intends to talk to the press in Russia, but needs at least one day of privacy, Kucherena said. The whistleblower was unaccompanied when he left the airport in a regular taxi, Kucherena added. However, WikiLeaks contradicted the lawyer, saying the organization’s activist Sarah Harrison accompanied Snowden.

[ video link ]

BBC: Edward Snowden has left Moscow airport - lawyer
US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has left the Moscow airport where he has been staying since June after being granted temporary asylum.

He left unobserved after receiving, his lawyer said, the necessary papers to enter Russian territory from Sheremetyevo Airport's transit zone.

The US has charged Mr Snowden with leaking details of its electronic surveillance programmes.

Russia's decision is likely to further strain its ties with the US.

A strongly worded US reaction can be expected shortly, as the news sinks in in the US, the BBC's Daniel Sandford reports from Moscow.

Mr Snowden arrived in Moscow on 23 June from Hong Kong, after making his revelations.

The Snowden affair has caused diplomatic ructions around the world, upsetting the United States' close allies and traditional enemies.

The Guardian : Edward Snowden leaves Moscow airport - live coverage (live blog)
1.40pm BST

Ties between Russia and the United States will not suffer because of the "relatively insignificant" Snowden case, a senior Kremlin official has said. Yuri Ushakov told reporters:

Our president has ... expressed hope many times that this will not affect the character of our relations.
He said there was no sign that Barack Obama would cancel a planned visit to Moscow in September.
NYT Front Page Banner (no story):
Snowden Is Allowed to Leave Russian Airport, Lawyer Says
The lawyer told the Interfax news service that Edward J. Snowden is permitted to stay in Russia for one year under "temporary asylum."
NYT Update: Russia Grants Snowden 1-Year Asylum
Leaker Has Left Airport After Getting Temporary Status
The temporary refugee status allows Mr. Snowden to move freely within the country and is valid for one year, Anatoly Kucherena, a Russian lawyer assisting Mr. Snowden with the asylum request, said in a telephone interview.

Mr. Snowden has left the airport, Mr. Kucherena said, but declined to say where he had gone. “Yes, it is true he is out,” he said, but declined to disclose details.

Mr. Snowden had lived in the international transit zone of the airport since he arrived on June 23, one step ahead of an extradition request filed by the United States in his first stopover in Hong Kong.

San Francisco Chronicle: Edward Snowden got asylum in Russia, lawyer says
MOSCOW (AP) — National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden left transit zone of a Moscow airport and entered Russia after authorities granted him temporary asylum, his lawyer said Thursday.

Anatoly Kucherena said that Snowden's whereabouts will be kept secret for security reasons. The former NSA systems analyst was stuck at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport since his arrival from Hong Kong on June 23.

The U.S. has demanded that Russia send Snowden home to face prosecution for espionage, but President Vladimir Putin 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.

South China Morning Post: Fugitive Snowden slips out of Moscow airport for ‘secure’ base
Fugitive former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden slipped quietly out of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Thursday after Russia granted him temporary asylum, ending more than a month in limbo in the transit area.

A Russian lawyer who has been assisting Snowden said the American, who is wanted in the United States for leaking details of secret government intelligence programmes, had gone to a secure location that would remain secret.

After weeks staying out of sight from hordes of reporters desperate for a glimpse of him, Snowden managed to slip away in a taxi without being spotted. Grainy images of his passport showed he had been granted asylum for a year from July 31.

WaPo: Five Weeks in a Moscow airport (slideshow)

Sydney Morning Herald: Edward Snowden given a year’s asylum in Russia

Fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has left the Moscow airport where he had been holed up for over a month, after being granted a year’s asylum in Russia, his lawyer says.

"Snowden has left Sheremetyevo airport. He has just been given a certificate that he has been awarded temporary asylum in Russia for one year," his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said on Thursday.

An airport spokeswoman added he had left within the past two hours. A source told the Interfax news agency he had crossed the Russian border for the first time. Kucherena said Snowden had left in a normal taxi on his own.
The lawyer added Snowden’s new place of residence would be kept secret for security reasons.

Wikileaks (via The Guardian)
FLASH: Edward Snowden has successfully acquired refugee status in Russia and will shortly leave the airport.

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 1, 2013

FLASH: We can now confirm that Edward Snowden's welfare has been continuously monitored by WikiLeaks staff since his presence in Hong Kong.

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 1, 2013

Edward Snowden was granted temporary asylum in Russia for a year and has now left Moscow airport under the care of WikiLeaks' Sarah Harrison

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 1, 2013

We would like to thank the Russian people and all those others who have helped to protect Mr. Snowden. We have won the battle--now the war.

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 1, 2013


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