On Monday Russian President, Vladimir Putin, granted citizenship to former United States Security Contractor and accused spy, Edward Snowden.
Snowden, 39, fled the United States to Russia after leaking information about extensive surveillance operations being conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA). He is now a Russian citizen by presidential decree.
Russia first granted Snowden asylum in 2014 and has resisted calls since to extradite him to the United States. He faces espionage charges that carry a prison sentence of up to 30 years.
The Russian passport was granted at Snowden’s request, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Snowden said in 2020 that he would be seeking dual Russian and US citizenship along with his wife, Lindsay Mills. The couple’s son, born later that year in Russia, is a Russian citizen.
Russian law does not require prospective passport holders to renounce their prior citizenship, and there is no indication Snowden has.
Contrary to what some on Twitter have wished for Snowden, he will not be sent to Ukraine, according to the report from RIA.
“In accordance with paragraph “a” of Article 89 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, I resolve: to accept the following persons as citizenship of the Russian Federation: Snowden Edward Joseph, born on June 21, 1983 in the United States of America,” the decree says.
According to the press secretary of the head of state Dmitry Peskov, Russian citizenship was granted to Snowden at his request.
Following the spouse, his wife will apply for citizenship, said lawyer Anatoly Kucherena. He also added that Snowden would not be called up as part of a partial mobilization because he did not serve in the Russian army. In June 2013, Snowden initiated a major international scandal, giving the Washington Post and the Guardian newspapers some secret materials about the surveillance programs of us special services and Uk on the Internet.
More from CBS News:
President Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to former U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden, according to a decree signed by the Russian leader on Monday.
Snowden is one of 75 foreign nationals listed by the decree as being granted Russian citizenship. The decree was published on an official government website.
Snowden, a former contractor with the U.S. National Security Agency, has been living in Russia since 2013 to escape prosecution in the U.S. after leaking classified documents detailing government surveillance programs.
He was granted permanent residency in 2020 and said at the time that he planned to apply for Russian citizenship, without renouncing his U.S. citizenship.
Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti that the former contractor’s wife Lindsay Mills, an American who has been living with him in Russia, will also be applying for a Russian passport.
Snowden, who has kept a low profile in Russia and occasionally criticized Russian government policies on social media, said in 2019 that he was willing to return to the U.S. if he’s guaranteed a fair trial.
“I would like to return to the United States. That is the ultimate goal,” Snowden told CBS News in 2019. “But if I’m gonna spend the rest of my life in prison, the one bottom line demand that we have to agree to is that at least I get a fair trial. And that is the one thing the government has refused to guarantee because they won’t provide access to what’s called a public interest defense.”