Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has said his country will consider any asylum request from the fugitive former US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, if it receives one.

The president said in the event of an official request, it would be evaluated in the same way as Ecuador, where the 30-year-old fugitive has already applied for asylum.

"If they made the request to us we would evaluate it also because in every case asylum is a humanitarian protection," Mr Maduro told reporters.

Mr Snowden is believed to have been on his way to Ecuador when he left Hong Kong and flew to Moscow on Sunday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday said Mr Snowden was still in the transit area of the airport in Moscow, and free to leave.

Mr Putin rejected US pleas to turn him over, saying Mr Snowden has not passed through Russian immigration, meaning he technically is not in Russia.