President Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to Edward Snowden, a refugee and former US NSA employee who has been in Russia since 2013 after leaving the United States, according to a decree published on Monday.
Mr. Snowden’s name appears along with dozens of others in this decree published on the Russian government’s site.
Edward Snowden, 39, is wanted by the United States to transmit to the press thousands of US National Security Agency (NSA) documents proving the extent of electronic surveillance used by Washington.
These revelations then caused very strong tensions between the United States and their allies, and the decision of the Russian authorities to grant him a residence permit angered Washington.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Ria Novosti news agency that Edward Snowden was granted Russian citizenship at his request.
The whistleblower’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kaucherena, for his part specified that Mr Snowden would not be affected by the mobilization order for the offensive in Ukraine, ordered by Vladimir Putin last week for certain categories of Russia.
“He did not serve in the Russian army and therefore, according to our current law, he does not fall into this category of civilians as they are now called,” he told the Ria Novosti agency.
According to him, Mr Snowden’s partner, Lindsay Mills, has also applied for Russian citizenship and his daughter already has it, born in Russia.
Deprived of his US passport at Washington’s request, Edward Snowden found himself in Moscow in May 2013 after arriving there from Hong Kong and intending to seek asylum in Latin America. He eventually found himself stranded in Russia, where he was given asylum.
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