MOSCOW, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has applied for a renewal of his Russian political asylum status.
The asylum Snowden received in July 2013 was regarded as temporary, and expired Thursday. His Russian lawyer said he will be allowed to stay in Russia at least until his renewal is processed.
Snowden's application to stay in Russia comes at a time when U.S.-Russian relations are tense, due to Russia's annexation of Crimea, the ongoing turmoil in Ukraine, and the apparent shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over rebel-held Ukrainian territory.
Snowden fled to Hong Kong in 2013, where he released classified information about U.S. surveillance matters. He then sought, and received, political asylum in Russia.
Russian authorities declined to comment on the status of Snowden's application.