A Russian migration service official says that U.S. intelligence-program leaker Edward Snowden could be relocated to a refugee center somewhere outside of Moscow if his application for temporary asylum in Russia is approved.
Olga Kirillova, head of the Moscow branch of the Federal Migration Service (FMS), said on July 29 that there are no appropriate refugee facilities in the capital.
Kirillova confirmed that "for the sake of his safety," Snowden remained under guard in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport.
Also on July 29, the press service of Russia's Health Ministry said Snowden had not yet applied for a medical examination, which is required as part of the temporary-asylum application.
On July 28, Vladimir Volokh, head of the FMS's Public Council, said he did not believe it would be safe for Snowden to move freely around Russia if he was granted asylum.
"I think Mr. Snowden himself has an interest in being located either in the transit zone or in another place approved by the FMS where his security can be ensured, the security of his life," Volokh said.
Volokh also explained the process of applying for temporary asylum.
He said that after an application for political asylum was submitted, "within five working days a decision will be made whether to consider it. In addition to a confirmation, Mr. Snowden will also be given a document confirming his application is being reviewed -- this is essentially a temporary passport, an identification card, etc. This document is a kind of identification for a foreign citizen on the territory of the Russian Federation during the time of [the application] process."
Volokh said migration officials were still determining Snowden's identity, since his U.S. passport has been annulled and "we know that he is Edward Snowden only from his own statements."
Snowden is wanted by U.S. authorities in connection with his revelations about large-scale U.S. Internet- and telephone-surveillance programs.
He has been living in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo Airport since June 23.
With reporting by Interfax and ITAR-TASS