Russia has extended Edward Snowden's residency permit, allowing the fugitive U.S. intelligence contractor to remain in the country for three more years, his lawyer said Thursday.
The document carries a three-year extension option. However, Snowden had not been granted political asylum that would allow him to stay in Russia indefinitely.
Relations have been further strained by Russia's annexation of Crimea and support for Ukrainian separatists. The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Russia, which retaliated Wednesday with a ban on certain agricultural and food products from the U.S. and Europe.
“It remains our position that Mr. Snowden should return to the United States and face the charges filed against him,” said the spokesman, Peter Carr. “If he does, he will be accorded full due process and protections.”