Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin has granted US whistleblower Edward Snowden Russian citizenship.
The 39-year-old's name is on a list of new citizens published by the Kremlin. Snowden had previously revealed after his son's birth in Russia that he was applying for citizenship to have the same rights as the child born in 2020, who received Russian citizenship automatically.
In 2013, Snowden gave journalists documents on spying activities by the US surveillance service NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ. According to his own statements, he wanted to flee via Hong Kong to Ecuador, but ended up stranded at the airport in Moscow after the US government canceled his passport.
US State Department: Snowden to surrender
A spokesman for the US State Department said Monday in Washington that the US government continues to call on Snowden to return to the United States to face justice there. He was not aware that the status of Snowden's US citizenship had changed. The spokesman also stressed that with Russian citizenship, Snowden could now be drafted into military service in the Ukraine war after Putin announced the partial mobilization of the Russian military.
Snowden's Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told the Interfax news agency that the question of conscripting the whistleblower did not arise because he had not served in the Russian army and had no relevant experience. The lawyer said Snowden's wife would continue to apply for Russian citizenship.