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Edward Snowden seeks asylum in Ecuador: foreign minister

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden Photo Credit: Edward Snowden (Getty Images)

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden kept people guessing about his whereabouts and plans on Sunday after fleeing Hong Kong for Moscow.

Snowden, who is wanted by Washington after leaking details about U.S. surveillance, stayed out of sight after the plane he was believed to be on landed at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.

A source at the Russian airline Aeroflot said Snowden would fly to Cuba on Monday and was expected to go on to Venezuela, although Ecuador later said he had asked it for asylum.

Passengers arriving from Hong Kong said he may have been whisked away from the runway by waiting cars, initially prompting speculation he may spend the night in a foreign embassy in the Russian capital.

"There were a lot of police and black cars when we were getting off the plane," said a passenger who gave his name only as Olivier.

But a source at an airport hotel said he had spotted Snowden there and Ecuador's ambassador to Russia, Patricio Alberto Chavez Zavala, later spent several minutes inside the building.

The envoy told reporters as he went in that he expected to have talks with Snowden and Sarah Harrison, a representative of the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group.

"We're waiting for Sarah. We're gong to talk to them," the envoy said at the Capsule Hotel, which is intended for transit passengers who do not have a visa to enter Russia.

Ecuador later confirmed it had received an asylum request from Snowden but the ambassador declined to give more details and did not make clear if Snowden was inside the hotel.


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