US Citizen Arrested in Russian Federation on Spying Charges

US Citizen Arrested in Russian Federation on Spying Charges

US Citizen Arrested in Russian Federation on Spying Charges

The service said in a press release that an American national, Paul Whelan, was detained as part of a special operation. The statement implied that he had been caught red-handed, saying that the arrest had occurred "during an act of espionage".

Russia's domestic security agency says it has arrested a United States citizen on espionage charges. "We have requested this access and expect Russian authorities to provide it".

If found guilty, he faces between 10 and 20 years in jail, Russia's Tass news agency reports.

There was no immediate comment from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, the White House or U.S. State Department.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki
Camera Icon Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki

Russian officials denied Butina is one of their agents.

Relations between the White House and the Kremlin are fraught over accusations that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 United States presidential election, sanctions against Moscow and disagreements over an arms control treaty. Butina, 30, is the first Russian national to be convicted of seeking to influence USA policy in the run-up to the 2016 election by acting as a foreign agent.

There's no connection between Butina and the arrest of Whelan, but Russian Federation has a history of arresting foreigners to use for prisoner swaps to get its people back.

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke out about the case on December 20, saying he didn't understand why Butina was detained and that he would support her.

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