Will new Russian citizen Edward Snowden be called up for military service in Ukraine?

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Monday granted former US intelligence official Edward Snowden Russian citizenship, prompting questions about whether the whistleblower would be drafted into the Moscow army as part of the nationwide mobilization campaign.

Snowden was one of 72 foreign-born people granted Russian citizenship by Putin on Monday.

“In accordance with paragraph ‘a’ of Article 89 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, I resolve: to accept the citizenship of the Russian Federation from the following persons: Edward Joseph Snowden, born on June 21, 1983 in the United States of America,” Putins said Decree published on the Legal Information Portal.

Snowden’s citizenship comes amid Putin’s “partial mobilization” order. The command would initially call up 300,000 reservists with combat and service experience to join the war in Ukraine and bolster Moscow’s troops during the invasion.

However, Snowden’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told state news agency RIA Novosti that his client will not be drafted because he has no experience serving in the Russian armed forces. This is in contrast to several reports of draft papers sent to those with no prior military experience.

Snowden, 39, has lived in Russia since 2013 hoping to avoid prosecution for leaking top-secret National Security Agency (NSA) information to The Guardian and The Washington Post. At the time of the leak, Snowden was working as an employee and subcontractor for the NSA.

After fleeing the United States in 2013, Snowden was charged with violations of the Espionage Act, including leaking classified information to an unauthorized party, disclosing intelligence information, and stealing government property. Each charge is punishable by up to ten years in prison.

In 2020, Snowden was granted permanent residency in Russia. After obtaining the whistleblower’s permanent residence permit wrote on Twitter that he and his wife, American acrobat Lindsay Mills, “would remain American and raise our son with all the values ​​of the America we love.”

Kucharena said Mills will also apply for Russian citizenship. Snowden’s daughter received Russian citizenship by birth, having been born in the Russian Federation.

Edward Snowden, a former US National Security Agency contractor and whistleblower, was forced into exile after leaking government secretsAFP / FRIEDRICH FLORIN

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Fry Electronics Team

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