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US whistleblower Edward Snowden gets Russian passport after vowing his oath of allegiance

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Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who fled prosecution after revealing highly classified surveillance programs, has received a Russian passport

Moscow, Dec 03: Former US security contractor Edward Snowden who made headlines for disclosing classified data about American surveillance operations, has received a Russian passport on Friday after swearing an oath of allegiance to Russia.

According to media reports, Snowden's lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, told the state-run media agency TASS that his client had been given a Russian passport. Kucherena, Snowden's attorney, declared, "He took the oath", The Guardian reported. However, the reports did not specify whether Snowden has renounced his US citizenship.

Edward Snowden gets Russian passport

Snowden, a former contractor with the US National Security Agency, has been living in Russia since 2013 to escape prosecution in the US after leaking classified documents detailing government surveillance programs. The US wanted Snowden to return to the country to face criminal charges for espionage. He had exposed the scale of secret surveillance operations undertaken by the National Security Agency (NSA). He left the country after revealing that the NSA had taken part in several global surveillance programmes with the cooperation of the European government and several telecommunication agencies.

It must be noted that in September this year, Snowden was granted Russian citizenship by Russian President Vladimir Putin. As per media reports, the whistleblower's family has also been living in Russia. They are living in an undisclosed location.

Putin grants Russian citizenship to US whistleblower Edward SnowdenPutin grants Russian citizenship to US whistleblower Edward Snowden

He was granted permanent residency in 2020 and said at the time that he planned to apply for Russian citizenship, without renouncing his U.S. citizenship.

Snowden's lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti that 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 criticized Russian government policies on social media, said in 2019 that he was willing to return to the US if he's guaranteed a fair trial.

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