'American friends' to help Snowden in Russia: Lawyer

MOSCOW (AFP) - Edward Snowden, the US intelligence leaker who left a Moscow airport on Thursday after winning asylum in Russia, will be helped in his new country of residence by "American friends," his lawyer said.

"I can open up the curtain a little. Of course he has acquired friends in Russia, American friends, who can ensure his security for some time," Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told Rossiya 24 channel.

"I cannot get involved in this, it's not my competence," he added, without giving any further details on the identity of the "friends".

Snowden left Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow under mysterious circumstances that allowed him to escape the constant monitoring of reporters.

The channel showed a photo, purportedly of the US fugitive, who is pictured with his back to the camera wearing a backpack near a car next to Kucherena and several men in suits that resembled security guards.