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Vladimir Putin grants Russian citizenship to former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden

The US has declared Edward Snowden a fugitive. Russian President Vladimir Putin has given him Russian citizenship. This step of Putin is considered very important amid the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia. Let us tell you that Snowden has been living in Moscow, Russia after escaping from America in 2013.

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

Moscow: In the midst of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken such a step, which may anger America. President Vladimir Putin on Monday granted Russian citizenship to former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. Snowden, 39, fled the US in 2013 after leaking secret files and was granted asylum in Russia. Snowden is now among 75 foreign nationals granted Russian citizenship, according to an order signed by President Putin on Monday. The order was shared on a government website.

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Snowden, a former contractor with the US National Security Agency, has been living in Russia since 2013 to avoid facing prosecution in the US. Snowden is accused of leaking documents detailing US government surveillance programs. Snowden was granted permanent residency in 2020. Snowden said at the time that he planned to apply for Russian citizenship without giving up his US citizenship.

On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong after leaving his job at an NSA facility in Hawaii, and in early June he revealed thousands of classified NSA documents to journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Barton Gellman, and Ewen MacAskill. Snowden came to international attention after stories based on the material appeared in The Guardian, The Washington Post, and other publications.

He was granted permanent residency in 2020 and said at the time that he planned to apply for Russian citizenship, without renouncing his US citizenship.

Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden’s lawyer, told Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti that Edward Snowden’s wife Lindsay Mills, an American who has been living with him in Russia, will also be applying for a Russian passport. Edward Snowden and Lindsay Mills had a child in December 2020.

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Snowden had exposed America in front of the whole world when he leaked the black letters of the National Security Agency (NSA). He exposed the vast domestic and international surveillance operations of the NSA to the world. US officials have wanted Snowden for years to return to the US to face criminal trial on espionage charges. Putin’s move is being seen as a tease to America. Since the invasion of Ukraine, Western countries led by the US have imposed tough economic sanctions on Russia.

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