MOSCOW - US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden remained stranded in a Moscow airport for the 14th day Saturday amid rising hopes he may finally be able to leave Russia after being offered asylum by Venezuela.

The saga surrounding the fugitive former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor took a new turn late Friday when Venezuela’s leftist President Nicolas Maduro offered to grant the 30-year old “humanitarian asylum”.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega had only moments earlier also said his Latin American country could offer a safe haven for one of Washington’s most wanted men “if circumstances permit”.

Snowden had already been denied asylum by many of the 21 countries to which he had applied last week.

The WikiLeaks anti-secrecy website that has been supporting Snowden’s cause said he had recently applied to six additional countries that it refused to name. But it was far from clear how exactly Snowden - hidden out of sight of reporters for the past two weeks - could reach another nation from the transit zone of Russia’s sprawling Sheremetyevo international airport.

He has been stripped of his passport by the US authorities and a refugee pass initially believed to have been offered to him by Ecuador has since been declared invalid. “He has no passport and asylum can only be granted to a specific individual. I have grave doubts that this is now possible,” senior ruling party lawmaker Alexander Romanovich told Moscow Echo radio.

Sheremetyevo only handles commercial flights and Snowden cannot travel past passport control to another airport used by foreign dignitaries.

Even if he got on a commercial flight, the plane carrying him could be grounded - the fate suffered by the jet carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales after several EU states denied it overflight rights over suspicions Snowden was onboard.

Analysts meanwhile said Moscow may be increasingly concerned about getting sucked into a diplomatic spat with Washington that it had never planned for and which it would rather avoid.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has refused to extradite Snowden to the United States while still stressing that he would like to see him gone as soon as possible.

Analysts interpret the mixed message as a sign that Moscow feel like they are being drawn into a fracas with Washington at a time when it would rather avoid additional difficulties to the two sides’ strained ties.

“Russia is not happy that he is here. If it wanted to offer him asylum, this would have been done right away,” said Carnegie Moscow Centre analyst Maria Lipman.

She noted that Putin himself was a former KGB spy who cares deeply about the safety of state secrets.