Snowden got stuck in Russia after Cuba blocked entry - newspaper

MOSCOW Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:12am BST

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, an analyst with a U.S. defence contractor, is seen in this still image taken from video during an interview by The Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong June 6, 2013. REUTERS/Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras/Courtesy of The Guardian/Handout via Reuters

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, an analyst with a U.S. defence contractor, is seen in this still image taken from video during an interview by The Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong June 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras/Courtesy of The Guardian/Handout via Reuters

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden got stuck in the transit zone of a Moscow airport because Havana said it would not let him fly from Russia to Cuba, a Russian newspaper reported on Monday.

Snowden, who is wanted in the United States for leaking details of U.S. government surveillance programmes, had planned to fly to Havana from Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport a day after arriving from Hong Kong on June 23.

But Snowden, who eventually accepted a year's asylum in Russia after spending nearly six weeks at Sheremetyevo, did not show up for the flight although he had been allocated a seat.

Citing several sources, including one close to the U.S. State Department, Kommersant newspaper said the reason was that at the last minute Cuba told officials to stop Snowden from boarding the Aeroflot flight.

It said Cuba had changed its mind after pressure by the United States, which wants to try Snowden on espionage charges.

Kommersant also said Snowden had spent a couple of days in the Russian consulate in Hong Kong to declare his intention of flying to Latin America via Moscow.

"His choice of route and his plea to help were a complete surprise to us. We did not invite him," Kommersant quoted a Russian state source as saying.

Reuters could not immediately verify the report. Allowing Snowden to land would have put Cuba's relations with the United States at risk.

Ties between the United States and Russia were strained when Moscow granted Snowden asylum. Following the disagreement over Snowden, U.S. President Barack Obama postponed a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin planned for next month.

(Reporting by Katya Golubkova, editing by Elizabeth Piper and Timothy Heritage)

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Comments (3)
dinkydy wrote:
perhaps he will enjoy his stay in Russia with Putin !

Aug 26, 2013 10:59am BST  --  Report as abuse
imagine3 wrote:
Mr Snowden is guilty of exposing the Truth and shames the countries not affording him sanctuary. He killed no one.

Aug 26, 2013 2:55pm BST  --  Report as abuse
hoffmancapote wrote:
I am glad to hear however from this story that he has finally been given asylum by Russia. I find it strange that a man has to seek asylum for being a honest upstanding citizen and revealing the criminal activity of the country he was employed by. I find the whole affair in many ways a symptom of the sickness of modern politics as well as indicator to the moral cowardice shown by many in their lack of support for this couragous honest young man.

Brian Booth
UK

Aug 26, 2013 7:18pm BST  --  Report as abuse
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