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Snowden Stuck in Moscow, Could Be at Russian Airport for Months

Image: Snowden Stuck in Moscow, Could Be at Russian Airport for Months

By Clyde Hughes   |   Thursday, 27 Jun 2013 12:05 PM

Officials say it could be months before National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden is able to leave Moscow after U.S. authorities annulled his passport.

Newsday reported Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Snowden remained in the transit area of Sheremetyevo Airport and officials will not attempt to arrest him.

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Snowden, wanted in the United States on espionage charges, is in limbo as Ecuador takes time to review Snowden's request for asylum there.

Ecuador Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said officials won't make a decision anytime soon.

"It took us two months to make a decision in the case of Assange, so do not expect us to make a decision sooner this time," Patino told reporters during a trip in Malaysia. He added through Twitter the decision could happen "in a day, a week, or, as happened with Assange, it could take two months."

Snowden has not left the airport's transit zone and is free to leave the country, but the U.S. annulled his passport so it has limited where he can go, Newsday reported. Exiting the transit area would require boarding a plane or passing through border control, both of which require a valid passport or other documentation.

Cuba is another possible destination for Snowden, but the Russian carrier Aeroflot reportedly left Moscow for Havana Thursday without him and Snowden did not register for the flight, according to Reuters. 

While in Africa for a trip, President Obama said he was "not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker," according to NBC News.

He added he refused to "wheel and deal and trade and a whole host of other issues, simply to get a guy extradited so he can face the justice system here in the United States."

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Related stories:

Four Years Ago, Snowden Said Leakers 'Should Be Shot'

Rand Paul: Bad If Snowden 'Cozies Up' to Rogue Nations

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