President Vladimir Putin signed a decree granting American Edward Snowden Russian citizenship on Monday.
Snowden, 39, is the former US intelligence contractor, who leaked details of the National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence surveillance operations that collected extensive internet and phone details that affected millions of Americans in 2013.
For years U.S. intelligence officials publicly denied that NSA had knowingly collected data from private phone and internet records until Snowden proved otherwise. Once Snowden released the information, the U.S. government’s narrative shifted to NSA conducted these operations to fight domestic terrorism and terrorism overseas.
Snowden has lived in exile in Russia since 2013.
By 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that that NSA’s operations were unlawful. At the time of the ruling, Snowden stated publicly that he felt vindicated.
But, Snowden still faces espionage charges in the U.S.
Snowden’s lawyer Anatoliy Kucherena was quoted on Monday by Russian news agencies that Snowden would not be called to be part of the mobilization of Russian army reservists to fight in Ukraine, which President Putin announced last week.