Putin Grants Russian Nationality to Edward Snowden, Raising Tensions Between Moscow and Washington

Former US National Security Agency official leaked secret documents to the press and escaped trial

Jörg Carstensen / dpa / AFPEdward snowden
Edward Snowden has been in Russia since 2013

Amid tensions between Washington and Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin, granted Russian citizenship to Edward Snowden, a former employee of the US National Security Agency (NSA), who has been a refugee in Russia since 2013 after leaving the United States. Snowden, 39, is claimed by the Americans to have leaked tens of thousands of documents to the press that prove the extent of electronic surveillance practiced by Washington. Leaks from it provoked strong tensions between United States and their allies. The decision by Russian authorities to grant him a residence permit caused great outrage in Washington. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov, in an interview with Russian news agency RIA Novosti, it was Snowden himself who applied for nationality. This information comes at a time when reservists are beginning to appear on military bases because of a mobilization made by Putin last week. Being 39 years old, Snowden fits the qualifications to defend Russia in the Ukraine, however, according to the Russian lawyer of the ex-intelligence consultant Anatoli Kucherena, he will not be affected by the mobilization order. “He did not serve in the Russian army, so under our current legislation he does not fall into that category of citizens being drafted,” he told RIA Novosti. According to Peskov, Snowden’s partner Lindsay Mills also applied for Russian nationality and her daughter already has it because she was born in Russia.

*With information from AFP

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