MOSCOW — An influential Russian Parliament member who often speaks for the Kremlin encouraged NSA leaker Edward Snowden on Sunday to accept Venezuela’s offer of asylum.
Alexei Pushkov, who heads the international affairs committee in Russia’s Parliament, posted a message on Twitter saying: ‘‘Venezuela is waiting for an answer from Snowden. This, perhaps, is his last chance to receive political asylum.’’
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said Saturday his country has not yet been in contact with Snowden, who Russian officials say has been in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport since arriving from Hong Kong two weeks ago. He has been unable to travel because the United States annulled his passport.
Jaua said he expects to consult Russian officials Monday on Snowden’s situation.
Pushkov’s comments appeared to indicate that the Kremlin is now eager to be rid of the former National Security Agency systems analyst, whom the United States wants returned to face espionage charges.
For Snowden to leave for South America, he would need Venezuela to issue travel documents, and he would need to find a way to get there. The nearest direct commercial flight from Moscow goes to Havana. The flight goes over Europe and the United States, which could cause complications.