Former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has been given permanent residency in Russia, his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told state-run news agency RIA Novosti.

Snowden had requested a three-year extension of the permit this spring as it was set to expire in April 2020 but the procedure stalled because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Kucherena.

The 37-year-old is accused of espionage and theft of government property in the US for leaking troves of information on American intelligence and mass surveillance program to the media.