WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A top Russian official says that Venezuela could be National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden’s “last chance” at achieving political asylum.
Snowden, who has been holed up in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport for two weeks after leaving Hong Kong, was offered asylum by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Friday. Bolivia and Nicaragua have also offered asylum to Snowden.
Alexei Pushkov, who heads the international affairs committee in Russia’s parliament, urged Snowden to accept Venezuela’s offer.
“Venezuela is waiting for an answer from Snowden. This, perhaps, is his last chance to receive political asylum,” Pushkov posted on his Twitter account, according to The Associated Press.
Snowden has been unable to leave the Moscow airport after the U.S. State Department annulled his passport.
Russia said Thursday that Snowden needs to find another country to seek refuge in.
“He needs to choose a place to go,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Reuters. “As of this moment, we do not have a formal application from Mr. Snowden asking for asylum in the Russian Federation.”
Snowden is charged with violating U.S. espionage laws for leaking information about NSA surveillance of Internet and telephone records to detect terrorist plots.
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