Snowden Granted Residency by Russia, Fueling Tensions With U.S.

WASHINGTON (McClatchy Washington Bureau/MCT) -

Russia has granted a three-year residency permit to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who has leaked thousands of top-secret documents on the agency’s communications collection programs, his lawyer announced on Thursday.

The decision will add new fuel to Cold War-like tensions between Russia and the United States over what the Obama administration charges is the Kremlin’s military and economic support for pro-Russia separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden’s lawyer, announced his client’s residency permit approval at a Moscow news conference. “He has got a three-year residence permit starting from August 1,” Kucherena was quoted as saying by the state-run ITAR-TASS news agency. “He is also free to move across the country and travel abroad, but for a term not exceeding three months, since, according to the legislation, the residence permit may be cancelled.”

The 31-year-old former U.S. intelligence contractor, who also worked for the CIA, was given a yearlong residency permit last year after spending some 40 days in the transit lounge of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport following the revocation by the United States of his U.S. passport.