Edward Snowden, a former security contractor who is most known for leaking documents about secret surveillance by the US National Security Agency and then fled to Russia, was granted full Russian citizenship by President Vladimir Putin on Monday.
The announcement comes roughly two years after Russia granted Snowden permanent residency in the country.
The country first granted Snowden asylum in 2014 and has since resisted calls to extradite him to the U.S. Snowden faces espionage charges that could land him in prison for up to 20 years in the U.S.
After being granted citizenship, Snowden tweeted:
After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our son. That’s why, in this era of pandemics and closed borders, we’re applying for dual US-Russian citizenship.”
With Snowden now being a Russian citizen, there is concern that he may be conscripted to fight in Russia’s war in Ukraine as a result. However, Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told RIA Novosti, a Russian state-owned news agency that Snowden could not be drafted into the Russian military because he had not previously served in the Russian army.