Edward Snowden has officially applied for the extension of his stay in Russia after his visa expires.
His lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, confirmed that paperwork had been submitted to Russia’s Federal Migration Service.
The current document granting him temporary asylum expires on July 31.
Edward Snowden fled the US in May 2013 and has been living under temporary asylum in Russia. Last year, he fed a trove of secret intelligence to news outlets.
“We have gone through the procedure of getting temporary asylum… We have submitted documents for extending his stay in Russia,” Anatoly Kucherena told reporters on Wednesday.
The lawyer did not say for how long Edward Snowden wanted to stay in Russia, or whether he wanted to become a Russian citizen.
Edward Snowden became stranded in the international airport at Moscow last year while travelling from Hong Kong to Cuba. He was in effect trapped in the airport’s transit zone for several weeks before the Russian government allowed him refugee status for a year.
He went to Russia shortly after leaking details of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) international surveillance and telephone-tapping operation.
Russia’s decision to give asylum to Edward Snowden – a former NSA contractor – was strongly criticized by the US.
Correspondents say that while Edward Snowden has in recent weeks increased his media visibility in Russia by giving several closely monitored interviews, he has conceded that he would like to go home, where he faces spying charges that could result in a substantial jail sentence.
News of his moves to extend his visa came as prosecutors in Germany searched the home of a defense ministry employee suspected of spying – the second such case in a week.
The US has not denied allegations that the intelligence agency employee arrested earlier this month was passing secret documents to the NSA.
The two countries, the biggest members of the NATO alliance, have been close allies for decades but relations were strained last year when it was revealed – from paperwork leaked by Edward Snowden – that the NSA had been monitoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone calls.
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