"I am only in a position to accept Russia's offer because of my inability to travel," Snowden was quoted as saying in a tweet from the Times’s Ellen Barry, who has been rebroadcasting information from Tatyana Lokshina, deputy director of the Moscow branch of Human Rights Watch.
"Snowden wants the people present at the meeting to intervene with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin on his behalf,” Barry tweeted, citing Lokshina.
Putin said last month that Russia had offered Snowden asylum in Russia under the condition that he stop his work aimed at "damaging our American partners,” an option Snowden reportedly rejected.
"No actions I take or plan are meant to harm the US," Snowden was quoted as saying in another of Barry’s tweets, with Lokshina adding, "so Putin's condition poses no obstacle.”
Russian officials did not immediately confirm whether a formal asylum request had yet been filed.
Snowden, who is wanted by Washington on charges of espionage and property theft after he leaked details of secret state surveillance programs, has been holed up in Sheremetyevo's transit zone since arriving on a June 23 flight from Hong Kong. Despite the efforts of dozens of reporters to find him, Friday’s meeting with Russian and Western rights activists and officials was his first public appearance since his arrival in Moscow.