MOSCOW, July 9 (RIA Novosti) — Former US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden has applied for an extension on his stay in Russia, which expires on July 31, Snowden’s lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said Wednesday.
"We have gone through the course of receiving temporary asylum. On July 31, this term ends. We have submitted documents on the extension of his stay in Russia. We won’t say yet in what status we would like to receive the extension because that decision is up to the Federal [Migration] Service," Kucherena said.
Snowden received temporary asylum in Russia for one year last summer on August 1, 2013, after living in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo international airport for a month.
Snowden fled his country in June 2013, after leaking information about the extensive electronic surveillance programs conducted by the US government around the globe, including eavesdropping on American citizens and foreign leaders. The revelations have sparked domestic controversy and strained relations between the US and its partners worldwide.
The United States accused Snowden of theft, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified documents to an unauthorized person. Each of the three charges carries a maximum possible prison term of ten years.
US authorities have rejected claims that Snowden is a whistleblower, insisting that he committed crimes and should stand trial at home. The US charged Snowden with espionage and revoked his passport.
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If attempts to drag Russia into a direct military conflict in Ukraine are successful, it would be a catastrophe for Russia comparable to the 1979-1989 Afghan war. There is no direct evidence that the US is trying to bring about a second Afghan war, but indirect evidence abounds.