|This screenshot made on Oct. 10, 2013, shows Lon Snowden (R), father of Edward Snowden, receives interview from Rossiya 24 in Moscow, Russia. Father of the fugitive U.S. intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden arrived Thursday in Moscow, local television said. (Xinhua)|
MOSCOW, Oct. 10 -- Lon Snowden, the father of U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, arrived in Russia Thursday and was expected to meet his son later in the day.
Lon Snowden arrived early morning at Sheremetyevo International Airport, where his son had been trapped for more than a month before receiving temporary asylum.
Upon his arrival, Lon Snowden said he was pleased that his son was safe and free. He also expressed his "extreme gratitude" to Russian President Vladimir Putin and others for helping Edward find his place in the country.
Meanwhile, the father said he was not sure if Edward Snowden could ever return to the United States where he faces espionage charges over disclosing a classified intelligence surveillance project.
In a live interview with Russian-24 TV station, the father said he had not spoken directly to his son yet.
"The last time I spoke to him directly was in April," Lon Snowden said, adding that he could not speak about any details for the sake of his son's safety.
Lon Snowden, accompanied by Edward's Russian attorney Anatoly Kucherena, referred all specific questions to the lawyer.
Kucherena declined to reveal details about Edward's current life and whereabouts out of concerns about the leaker's safety.
"You must understand that the powerful country, the United States, is on the hunt after him," the lawyer said, adding that on the way from the airport to the TV headquarters in northern Moscow five cars chased their vehicle with unclear intentions.
"We understandably feel tense," Kucherena admitted.
The father wants his son to stay in Russia for as long as possible, saying "Russia is the only country in the world where Edward could feel safe."