Edward Snowden intends to settle and work in Russia, a lawyer representing the National Security Agency leaker said, according to a report from Russia Today on Wednesday.
“He’s planning to arrange his life here. He plans to get a job. And, I think, that all his further decisions will be made considering the situation he found himself in,” said attorney Anatoly Kucherena.
“It’s hard for me to say what his actions would be in terms of a positive decision,” he added. “We must understand that security is the number one issue in his case. I think the process of adaptation will take some time. It’s an understandable process as he doesn’t know the Russian language, our customs, and our laws."
Kucherena though said that if the asylum request is rejected, Snowden would consider his Russian legal options, noting that he has “an opportunity to go to court and appeal against the decision of the Federal Migration Service.”
Snowden has been holed up in Moscow airport’s transit area as he seeks to evade an extradition request to the U.S. where he faces espionage charges. Snowden has admitted to leaking classified information detailing the NSA’s surveillance of phone and Internet traffic.
He has received asylum from a number of Latin American countries but has been unable to travel there without the cooperation of Russian officials after the U.S. voided his passport.
Obama administration officials have pressed Russia to deny Snowden refuge after he applied for temporary asylum there.
The White House said President Obama placed a personal call to Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month to discuss Snowden’s case.
Putin has suggested that Snowden could stay in Russia provided he stop disclosing information aimed at damaging the U.S. but has also said that bilateral ties between the two countries are more important than the dispute over the leaker’s fate.
Snowden’s lawyer has said that he would be willing to abide by that restriction, though it is unclear how much information Snowden has already disclosed that is yet to be published.
Kucherena said earlier this week that he expected a decision on Snowden’s Russian asylum application by Wednesday.
“I’m calling them on a daily basis. They tell me that they’re about to finish the formalization,” he said.