(MOSCOW) — Alleged National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden remains holed up in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport, but perhaps not for much longer.
Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia and, according to the lawyer advising him, could be allowed to leave the airport in a few days, reports Interfax.
Snowden hasn’t been able to leave the airport for several weeks because he doesn’t have a Russian visa and the U.S. canceled his passport, but a preliminary decision on asylum could be made within a week. That would grant him a permit to enter Russia while a final decision on his asylum is made — a process that could take several months.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, has said he doesn’t want the Snowden affair to harm U.S.-Russia relations.
The U.S. has warned Russia not to grant Snowden asylum, but with President Obama scheduled to arrive in Russia for a summit with Putin in September, neither side wants to rock the boat with important issues like Syria and missile defense on the table.
At least one GOP senator, however, is urging Obama to go further. Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina suggested to The Hill on Tuesday that the United States boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Sochi, in southern Russia.
His Republican colleague John McCain of Arizona replied, however, that he did not think that was a good idea.
The U.S. has boycott an Olympics before: in 1980 President Carter led a boycott of the Moscow Olympics over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan — but Soviet troops would not leave that country for another eight years.
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Joe Sterling and Darran Simon, CNN
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