Russia has taken steps to grant citizenship to Edward Snowden, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing his lawyer.
On Aug. 1, Moscow gave Snowden, 31, a three-year residency permit that allows him to travel in and out of the country and eventually to receive Russian citizenship.
Snowden, a former United States intelligence contractor, arrived in Moscow last year after leaking classified information about far-reaching spying by the US government.
He initially received a one-year asylum visa. The three-year residency permit enables him to live and work in Russia and leave the country for up to three months a year, the report said, citing Anatoly Kucherena, his Russian lawyer.
Snowden will be eligible for Russian citizenship after residing in the country for five years.
US prosecutors have charged him with theft of government property and willful communication of classified communications intelligence to an unauthorized person.
The charges allow the US to issue an Interpol red notice to stop Snowden from traveling.
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