In this handout photo provided by The Guardian, Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong.
Handout—Getty Images
January 18, 2017 8:53 AM EST

Edward Snowden will be allowed to remain in Russia, where he has been living under asylum ever since disclosing classified information about the National Security Agency, for a “couple more years,” a Russian government official said Wednesday.

Snowden has been staying in Russia since the country granted him asylum in 2013 after he leaked confidential secrets on the NSA’s surveillance programs. The former NSA contractor has been hoping President Obama grants him a pardon before leaving office in January.

Russia extended Snowden’s “residence permit” in the country for at least two more years, Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, said on Facebook.

Obama on Tuesday commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. Army soldier who admitted to leaking secret government documents to WikiLeaks.

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