(FiveNation.com)- The US administration demanded that Edward Snowden returns to American territory to “face punishment” after learning of Vladimir Putin’s executive order on Monday granting Russian citizenship to the former NSA employee who had been granted shelter there since arriving there in 2013.
Ned Price, a spokesperson for the State Department, stated on Monday that Mr. Snowden should return to the United States where he should “face justice as any other American citizen would.”
However, Price continued with a statement that Snowden’s legal counsel is contesting. He added that perhaps the only thing that has changed is that he may now be conscripted to fight in Russia’s conflict in Ukraine because of his Russian citizenship.
In response, Snowden’s attorney was quoted in Russia’s Sputnik as saying that because Snowden had never served in the Russian army, he would not be affected by the “partial mobilization,” which only affects reservists, though there have been conflicting reports of instances of draft notices being sent to young Russian men:
Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden’s lawyer in Russia, said, “He did not serve in the Russian army. According to our current legislation, he does not fall into this category of citizens, which is now called up. And then he will act according to the law.
The decree that was passed on Monday read as follows: “In accordance with paragraph “a” of Article 89 of the Russian Federation Constitution, I decide: to admit the following individuals as Russian Federation citizens: born in the United States on June 21, 1983, is Edward Joseph Snowden.
Snowden claimed in a statement published on Twitter that he asked for and was granted dual citizenship out of concern that, without Russian citizenship, he may lose contact with his son.
After a career in US intelligence, including as a contractor for the NSA and CIA, Snowden remains the country’s most well-known whistleblower. He revealed the extent of the US government’s domestic surveillance, which critics claim is a grave violation of the constitutional rights of individual Americans.