Edward Snowden's recently-granted Russian citizenship may expose the former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor to conscription in to Russia's military, the US said on Monday, Anadolu Agency.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Snowden "makes him subject to any Russian decrees that may come down, including the one we heard about last week." He was likely alluding to Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to call up 300,000 Russian reservists to bolster his flagging war effort in Ukraine.
"Mr. Snowden is apparently now a Russian citizen," Price told reporters. "The only thing that has changed is that as a result of his Russian citizenship, apparently now he may well be conscripted to fight in a reckless war in Ukraine."
Price reiterated the US position that Snowden, who publicly unveiled secretive mass surveillance programs run by the NSA during the Obama administration in 2013, should return to his home country "where he should face justice."
President Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to former U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden, according to a decree signed by the Russian leader on Monday, APA reports citing The Washington Post.
Snowden is one of 75 foreign nationals listed by the decree as being granted Russian citizenship. The decree was published on an official government website.
Snowden, a former contractor with the U.S. National Security Agency, has been living in Russia since 2013 to escape prosecution in the U.S. after leaking classified documents detailing government surveillance programs.
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.