Asked whether Mr Snowden had applied for asylum to the Nordic country, foreign ministry spokesman Frode Andersen said: "I can confirm that. We have received an asylum application by fax to our embassy in Moscow late yesterday afternoon.” "It is probably from him and it is allegedly signed by him, but we have no way of checking that,” he said.The spokesman declined to give details about the content of the letter or from where the fax was sent to the embassy.
Mr Snowden has been a fugitive from US authorities since revealing the massive scale of US surveillance on the internet and other communications, including those of allies, including the governments of Germany, Italy and France.
In a separate statement on the WikiLeaks website posted overnight, Mr Snowden also accused Washington of pressuring foreign leaders to refuse him refuge as he sought asylum in 21 countries including Russia.
‘‘These are the old, bad tools of political aggression,’’ Mr Snowden said in the statement. ‘‘Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.”
‘‘Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum,’’ Mr Snowden said.
Snowden is presently holed up at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport and he broke his 10-day silence with the WikiLeaks statement.
A WikiLeaks statement later said that in additional to earlier asylum requests submitted to Iceland and Ecuador, Snowden had now asked 19 other countries for refuge.
WikiLeaks employee Sarah Harrison had submitted the petitions on his behalf to Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela, the group said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday Snowden was welcome to stay as long as he stopped leaking US intelligence reports.
‘‘If he (Snowden) wants to remain here there is one condition – he should stop his work aimed at inflicting damage on our American partners no matter how strange this may sound coming from me,’’ Mr Putin told reporters earlier Monday.
‘‘Because he feels like a rights activist and defender of human rights all indications are that he is not going to stop this work.’’
US President Barack Obama on Monday confirmed that there were high-level consultations between Moscow and Washington over Mr Snowden’s fate.
There is no extradition treaty between the two countries.
the Oslo Times