Vladimir Putin grants Russian citizenship to Edward Snowden; will he be sent to fight in Ukraine?
President Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to former US security contractor Edward Snowden, according to a decree signed by the Russian leader on Monday.
Massive public outrage ensued moments after news of President Vladimir Putin granting Russian citizenship to former United States security contractor Edward Snowden came to light. According to a decree signed by the Russian leader and published on an official government website, Snowed is one of the 75 foreign nationals given citizenship.
Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has been hiding in Russia since 2013 to avoid prosecution in his home country for disclosing secret papers describing secret government surveillance initiatives.
He was granted permanent residency in 2020 and said he planned to apply for Russian citizenship without renouncing his US citizenship.
An American woman named Lindsay Mills, who has been living with Snowden in Russia, will also be asking for a Russian passport, according to the former contractor's attorney, Anatoly Kucherena, who spoke to RIA Novosti, the Russian government's official news agency. A child was born to the couple in December 2020.
In 2019, Snowden, who has maintained a low profile while living in Russia and has occasionally criticised Russian government policies on social media, stated that he would be happy to return to the United States if a fair trial could be ensured. He hasn't offered any comment on receiving Russian citizenship.
Meanwhile, Twitter exploded moments after news of Snowden's Russian citizenship emerged.
"He's always been a Russian asset," stated one user. Another one mocked the development saying, "Congrats, Edward. You're a Russian citizen. Here's your gun, you're off to Ukraine."
Investigative journalist Dave Troy said, "It's time for us to come to grips with the fact that the Snowden, Greenwald, Assange ops were all part of a years-long Russia-supported effort to upend the West."
Journalist and author Glenn Greenwald noted, "When Snowden left Hong Kong and landed in Moscow to transit to Latin America, Obama officials like @brhodes did everything possible to prevent him from leaving, to trap him in Russia. Rhodes boasted of it in his book. Ever since, they've use this to imply he's a Russian agent."
Here's a look at some of the reactions on the micro-blogging site: