RUSSIA—Whistleblower Edward Snowden and his wife are applying for Russian citizenship while keeping their U.S. nationality, Snowden said on Monday, November 2.

Snowden, 37, fled the U.S. and was given asylum in Russia after leaking files in 2013 that exposed domestic and international surveillance operations of the U.S. National Security Agency, where he worked as a contractor.

Authorities have wanted Snowden returned to the U.S. to face a criminal trial on espionage charges for seven years.

Snowden tweeted: “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.”

He added: “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. Our greatest wish is that, wherever our son lives, he feels at home.”

Snowden and his wife, Lindsay, are expecting their son in late December. Russia has already granted Snowden permanent residency rights, as stated by his lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena.

In 2019, Snowden said in an interview with CBS News that he wanted to return to the U.S.

“But if I’m going to spend the rest of my life in prison, the one bottom-line demand that we have to agree to is that at least I get a fair trial. And that is the one thing the government has refused to guarantee because they won’t provide access to what’s called a public interest defense,” said Snowden.

In August 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump said he was considering a pardon for Snowden.