Russian Federation detains U.S. citizen suspected of spying

Russian Federation detains U.S. citizen suspected of spying

Russian Federation detains U.S. citizen suspected of spying

Russia's FSB state security agency says it has arrested a USA citizen "caught spying" in Moscow.

The American - identified as Paul Whelan - was detained on December 28 and a criminal probe had been opened, the FSB was quoted as saying by the state-run TASS news agency on December 31.

The arrest comes days after Russian citizen Maria Butina pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as a secret foreign agent in the United States. No other details were given.

The charges he faces could carry a prison term of as much as 20 years, according to Russia's criminal code.

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

According to Reuters, the man was allegedly arrested on December 28th, but neither the United States nor Russian Federation have commented on the nature of his alleged spying activity. Russian agents are suspected of poisoning former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England.

Relations between Russian Federation and the West have hit a new low following the incidents, with the United States and Europe hitting Moscow with waves of sanctions over the spy scandals and the conflict in Ukraine.

In his annual year-end news conference on December 20, Putin said Russian Federation would "not arrest innocent people simply to exchange them for someone else later on".

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