July 17 - Fugitive American whistleblower Edward Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia, as the country continues to keep him at arm’s length. Tom Dinham reports.
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In limbo, for three weeks American whistleblower Edward Snowden has lived here, in the transit area between the runway and passport control at Moscow Sheremetyevo airport
Russia says it considers the area neutral territory, and has yet to grant the dissident permission to stay in the country.
That may be about to change. This hand written application for asylum, signed by Snowden, was broadcast on Russian state television last night.
A lawyer helping Snowden with his asylum request said that Snowden could leave Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport within a week.
The move comes amidst the clearest signal yet from Russian President Vladimir Putin that he won't allow the issue to further sour relations with the United States.
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING:
"We warned Mr Snowden that any action by him that could cause damage to Russia-American relations is unacceptable for us."
If successful in his application, Snowden has stated he intends to seek refuge in Russia only until he can travel to one of the three Latin American countries ready to give him political asylum - Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua.
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