Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden said on Twitter Monday that he and his wife are applying for Russian citizenship, in addition to their American citizenship.
Snowden, 37, also announced he and Lindsay Mills are expecting a baby boy.
“After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our son. That's why, in this era of pandemics and closed borders, we're applying for dual US-Russian citizenship.”
Snowden emphasized that the couple have no intention to renounce their U.S. citizenship.
“Lindsay and I will remain Americans, raising our son with all the values of the America we love - including the freedom to speak his mind. And I look forward to the day I can return to the States, so the whole family can be reunited.”
Snowden’s tweet comes weeks after Moscow granted him permanent residency. Russia also has recently changed its strict laws to allow individuals to hold dual citizenship, in their country of origin and Russian.
Snowden has been living in exile in Russia since 2013, after he leaked information on U.S. Domestic and international surveillance programs.
He is wanted in the United States on espionage charges after he copied and leaked secret files to The Guardian and The Washington Post newspapers. Other major world newspapers picked up the story.
U.S. Public opinion is split whether to pardon Snowden.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump said he would take a close and careful look at the possibility of pardoning Snowden, but no further comments have come from Trump since.
Days after Trump’s statement, in an interview with The Associated Press, Attorney General William Barr said he would be “vehemently opposed” to any attempt to pardon Snowden.
In 2015, then-president Barack Obama rejected a petition to pardon Snowden.