MOSCOW -- Asylum options appeared to narrow further Tuesday for Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor on the run from U.S. authorities, as at least nine countries reacted unfavorably to his requests for sanctuary, and the Kremlin said he had withdrawn his application to Russia.
Only Venezuela and Bolivia appeared to offer him a hint of hope for a way out of his limbo inside the international airport transit lounge at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow, where he has been ensconced out of public view for nine days.
Venezuela's president, Nicolas Maduro, visiting Russia, said that while he had not yet received an application from Mr. Snowden and would not use his plane to ferry Mr. Snowden home with him, he held out the possibility that Venezuela might ultimately agree to shelter him.
Speaking to legislators and reporters at the Russian Parliament, Mr. Maduro said Mr. Snowden deserved protection under international law. "He did not kill anyone, and he did not plant a bomb," Mr. Maduro said, according to Russian news services. "He only told the world a large truth to prevent war. The U.S. capitalist elite are trying to control the world and are spying on friends, foes and the entire planet."
Bolivia's president, Evo Morales, signaled that Mr. Snowden would be welcome there as well.
But Austria, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Norway and Spain all said requests for asylum must be made in person on their territories, and therefore Mr. Snowden had not properly submitted an application. India and Brazil said they had rejected his request outright. Poland said it had received an application that was not properly submitted, but that it would have been rejected in any event.
Officials in Italy, which also received an asylum application, said they were evaluating it. But there was little expectation that Italy would grant Mr. Snowden's request.
Mr. Snowden, 30, has been charged in the United States with espionage law violations for leaking classified information about U.S. intelligence agencies' vast global surveillance operations.
WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group that has been assisting Mr. Snowden, has described him as a whistle-blower who exposed U.S. abuses of privacy. The Obama administration has described him as a hacker who should be extradited and prosecuted.
A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dmitri S. Peskov, reiterated that Russia had no intention of extraditing Mr. Snowden to the United States. "The extradition of Snowden to such a country as the United States, which applies the death penalty, is impossible," he said.
The Washington Post reported, however, that the espionage charges Mr. Snowden faces do not qualify for the death penalty. A charge of treason would qualify.
Washington Post contributed.