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Snowden can apply for Russian passport next year

Russian authorities have extended a residency permit for Edward Snowden until 2020.

Former US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden on 9 October 2013. Picture: AFP.

MOSCOW - Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has been allowed to remain in Russia for another three years and will next year qualify to apply for Russian citizenship, his Russian lawyer was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Russian authorities said earlier on Wednesday they had extended a residency permit for Snowden, who was given asylum in Russia after leaking classified information about US spy operations.

That permit is now valid until 2020, the lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, was quoted as saying by Russia's RIA news agency.

"In effect, he now has all grounds to receive citizenship in the future, over the course of a certain period, since under the law we have a period of residence on Russia soil of not less than 5 years (to receive Russian citizenship)," the agency quoted Kucherena as saying.

"Now he has already been living on Russian territory for nearly four years, he does not violate the law, there are no complaints about him. That's one of the reasons his residency permit was extended."

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