By Cameron Joseph - 07/06/13 01:39 PM EDT
Some Russian leaders would be relieved to see former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden leave Moscow for Venezuela.
Snowden, who exposed a number of classified National Security Agency documents about controversial telephone data and Internet monitoring programs, is thought to be hiding out in Moscow's largest airport as he applies for asylum in dozens of countries.
That has put Russia in a bind — the country has denied the U.S. government's request to extradite Snowden, but also hasn't granted him asylum. Its play has essnetially been to wait until another country would accept Snowden in order to avoid further entangling itself in the matter and straining an already tense relationship with the U.S.
The leaders of Venezuela and Nicaragua on Friday said they would be willing to offer Snowden asylum after a number of other countries turned him down.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that Snowden could stay in Russia provided he stop leaking U.S. secrets. He'd also said it would be best for both Russia and Snowden if he could leave the country soon.