MOSCOW (Reuters) - Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden will fly from Moscow to Cuba on Monday and then plans to go to Venezuela, a source at the Russian airline Aeroflot said on Sunday.
The source said Snowden was already on his way to Moscow from Hong Kong and would leave for Havana within 24 hours.
The South China Morning Post also reported that Snowden had left Hong Kong for Moscow and that his final destination might be Ecuador or Iceland. The WikiLeaks anti-secrecy website said Snowden was heading for an unnamed “democratic nation”.
The flight to Moscow prompted speculation that Snowden might remain in Russia, whose leaders accuse the United States of double standards on democracy and have championed public figures who challenge Western governments.
But Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said he was unaware of Snowden’s plans and the Foreign Ministry declined immediate comment on whether he had asked for asylum.
State-run news agency RIA cited an unnamed law enforcement official as saying Russian authorities had “no claims” against Snowden and that there were no orders to detain him.
Interfax news agency cited an unnamed source as saying Snowden apparently did not have a Russian visa, which U.S. citizens need to enter Russia, and that he might not leave the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.
Reporting by Lidia Kelly, Gleb Stolyarov and Alexei Anishchuk,; Writing by Steve Gutterman, Editing by Timothy Heritage