American suspected of spying held by Russian intelligence in Moscow

Russian security agency arrests 'US spy' in Moscow

On December 28th, Russian authorities detained American Paul Whelan. The statement implied that he had been caught red-handed, saying that the arrest had occurred "during an act of espionage".

FSB opened a criminal case under the article pertaining to espionage.

There has been no reaction yet from USA or Russian officials on the arrest. "Russia's obligations under the Vienna Convention require them to provide consular access". The charges he faces could carry a prison term of as much as 20 years, according to Russia's criminal code. In addition to a response to Butina's arrest, Rohde pointed out that Russian President Vladimir Putin was sending a clear message to President Donald Trump for the New Year.

Earlier this month, Russian gun rights activist Maria Butina pleaded guilty to conspiring with a senior Russian official to infiltrate USA conservatives. She is likely to face up to six months in prison and then be deported to Russian Federation.

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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.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the U.S. Embassy was duly notified about the arrest, but wouldn't give any further information.

He also said that Ms. Butina had not been following any instructions from the Russian government or its agencies, and noted that she was fighting to avoid prison. "There were simply no grounds for it".

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