(CNN) -- Ecuador has granted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange asylum, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño announced Thursday.

The UK, meanwhile, has said it will not grant safe passage out of the country to Assange, who has been holed up inside Ecuador's embassy in London.

In a televised address Wednesday, Patiño said that the Ecuadorian government had received a written notice from British authorities that they would "assault" the country's embassy in London if Ecuadoran authorities failed to hand over Assange to British authorities.

"We are not a British colony," he said. "Those times are passed."



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