Snowden slipped out of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Thursday in a cloak-and-dagger operation overseen by his Russian lawyer, but unnoticed by the hordes of media trying to follow his every move.
The White House said it is “extremely disappointed” that the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor was given asylum, and that it would now review plans for a US-Russia presidential summit in September.
Snowden, 30, is wanted on felony charges by the US after leaking sensational details of American surveillance programs, but Russia has refused to extradite him.
The fugitive was whisked away in a taxi at about 2pm local time, leaving his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena to reveal that he had received asylum in Russia for one year.
Kucherena, who helped Snowden make his asylum application on July 16, told AFP that Snowden’s new place of residence would be kept secret for security “since he is the most pursued man on the planet”.