Former US security contractor Edward Snowden has been granted Russian citizenship by Vladimir Putin.
Snowden is one of 75 foreign nationals listed on the decree which has been published on an official government website.
The former contractor with the US National Security Agency (NSA) has been living in Russia since 2013 to escape prosecution in the US after leaking classified documents detailing government surveillance programmes.
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.
Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti the former contractor’s wife Lindsay Mills, an American who has been living with him in Russia, will also be applying for a Russian passport.
The couple had a child in December 2020.
Snowden, who has kept a low profile in Russia and occasionally criticised Russian government policies on social media, said in 2019 he was willing to return to the US if he is guaranteed a fair trial.
He has not commented on being granted Russian citizenship.
Source : Sky News