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Putin Grants Edward Snowden Russian Citizenship

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin on Monday granted Russian citizenship to US whistleblower Edward Snowden, who exposed massive surveillance by the US National Security Agency on Americans and then sought refuge in Russia.

A presidential decree published Monday included Snowden on a list of newly-minted Russian citizens, at a time when relations between Washington and Moscow are at historic lows over the conflict in Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told news agencies that Snowden had received Russian citizenship as a result of his own request, made in 2020 to make it easier for his American wife Lindsay Mills to travel back and forth.

“After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our SONS,” Snowden wrote on Twitter.

“After two years of waiting and nearly ten years of exile, a little stability will make a difference for my family,” he said.

The former American intelligence contractor, 39, leaked secret documents to media outlets in 2013 revealing that the NSA was collecting massive amounts of communications metadata and other information on US citizens, in violation of their constitutional right to privacy.

The expose of the NSA s secret spying program led to laws and regulations forbidding that activity.