MOSCOW – Edward Snowden, the U.S. intelligence leaker who was granted asylum in Russia, contacted officials there before he flew to Moscow and spent several days at the country’s diplomatic mission in Hong Kong, a newspaper said Monday.
Kommersant, citing several informed sources, also said the former National Security Agency contractor did not board a flight to Cuba from Moscow as planned because under pressure from Washington, Havana said it would not let the plane land.
The paper, citing a source close to Snowden, said he had spent several days at the Russian Consulate in Hong Kong before boarding a flight to Moscow in late June.
Snowden even celebrated his 30th birthday there, the source was quoted as saying.
A Western source confirmed the report, adding that the West thought it was possible that Russian authorities had invited Snowden to come to Russia.