Snowden responds to Putin approval of Russian citizenship

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Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who fled the U.S. in 2013 after leaking classified information about U.S. government surveillance programs, responded on Monday to his newly granted Russian citizenship, which he received as the result of a decree from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Snowden, charged with espionage in the U.S., has been living in exile in Moscow for nearly a decade to avoid prosecution, now joined by his wife, Lindsay Mills, and their two children. 

“After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our SONS. After two years of waiting and nearly ten years of exile, a little stability will make a difference for my family. I pray for privacy for them—and for us all,” Snowden wrote on Twitter. 

His post and his all-caps “SONS” makes reference to a 2020 Tweet in which Snowden announced he and his wife would apply for dual U.S.-Russian citizenship. 

“After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our son,” Snowden wrote in 2020 after the birth of their first child. “That’s why, in this era of pandemics and closed borders, we’re applying for dual US-Russian citizenship.” 

Snowden had said in 2019 that he ultimately wanted to return to the U.S. if the government guaranteed him a fair trial, but he requested an extended residency permit in early 2020 and applied for Russian citizenship later that year. 

Putin granted citizenship to 75 foreigners in a new decree Monday.

The Russian president’s move comes in the wake of a controversial partial mobilization order that would call up thousands of Russians from military reserves to fight in the ongoing war in Ukraine — and a week after Putin threatened the use of nuclear weapons in the conflict.

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