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Lawyer: Edward Snowden has left Moscow airport, entered Russia

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A Russian lawyer for National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has left the transit zone of Moscow's airport and entered Russia.

The lawyer says he has received papers that allow him to leave the transit zone of Moscow' airport and enter Russia pending a decision on his request for asylum in Russia.

Anatoly Kucherena said Thursday that Snowden can now leave Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport where he has been stuck since his arrival from Hong Kong on June 23.

Kucherena said that Snowden's whereabouts will be kept secret for security reasons.

The U.S. has demanded that Russia send Snowden home to face prosecution for espionage, but President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the request.

Putin had said that Snowden could receive asylum in Russia on condition he stops leaking U.S. secrets. Kucherena has said Snowden accepted the condition.

The Guardian newspaper on Wednesday published a new report on U.S. intelligence-gathering based on information from Snowden, but Kucherena said the material was provided before Snowden promised to stop leaking.

Snowden, who revealed details of a U.S. intelligence program to monitor Internet activity, has received offers of asylum from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia and said he would like to visit those countries. However, the logistics of reaching any of those countries are complicated because his U.S. passport has been revoked.

The Snowden case has further strained U.S.-Russian ties already tense amid differences over Syria, U.S. criticism of Russia's human rights record and other issues.

Snowden's father said in remarks broadcast Wednesday on a Russian television that he would like to visit his son. Kucherena said he is arranging the trip.

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