(REUTERS) — Fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden was seeking asylum in Ecuador on Sunday after Hong Kong allowed his departure for Russia in a slap to Washington’s efforts to extradite him on espionage charges.

In a major embarrassment for President Barack Obama, an aircraft thought to have carried Snowden landed in Moscow on Sunday, and the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks said he was “bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum.”

Earlier, Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, visiting Vietnam, tweeted: “The Government of Ecuador has received an asylum request from Edward J. #Snowden.”

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