Edward Snowden left the Moscow airport on Thursday after Russia granted the NSA leaker temporary asylum, and according to his lawyer, he wants to see his girlfriend.
“Snowden can live in a hotel or rent a flat in Russia,” said his lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, according to state-backed RT. “But the personal safety issue is a very serious one for him.”
Snowden has been trapped in the transit are of the Sheremetyevo airport for more than a month. “Snowden’s lawyer says his client ‘really misses his girlfriend,’” wrote Paul Sonne, the Wall Street Journal’s correspondent in Moscow, on Twitter.
The 30-year-old former NSA contractor has got “new friends, including Americans, who will ensure his security for the time being,” Kucherena said.
“When I told him about the people who were calling him, including girls, such Russian girls, he told me ‘Anatoly, I still miss my girlfriend,’” Kucherena told the broadcaster.
When the leak emerged, his girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, said that she felt betrayed by Snowden’s move, according to reports several weeks ago.
Snowden is legally allowed to work in Russia and apparently received a job offer already. Pavel Durov, the founder of the Russian equivalent of Facebook, Vkontakte, extended the offer to him on his “all-star security team.”
On Thurdasy, The United States slammed Russia’s move to grant Snowden asylum.
“We are extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step despite our very clear and lawful requests in public and private that Mr. Snowden be expelled and returned to the United States,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said, according to The Associated Press.
“Mr. Snowden is not a whistleblower” or a political dissident, Carney added. “He is accused of leaking classified information. He should be returned to the United States as soon as possible.”
Some lawmakers said Russia should face punishment for granting him asylum.
“Russia’s action today is a disgrace and a deliberate effort to embarrass the United States. It is a slap in the face of all Americans,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. “Now is the time to fundamentally rethink our relationship with Putin’s Russia.”