Russian Federation arrests USA citizen on suspicion of espionage

Russian Federation arrests USA citizen on suspicion of espionage

The FSB domestic security service said the American was arrested on Friday "while carrying out an act of espionage".

Spying charges carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years in Russian Federation. It said it was pushing for consular access to the detained American.

The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to NPR's request for comment.

Public accusations of spying have become more commonplace in recent years, as relations between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia have deteriorated since the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014.

At the end of November, Trump abruptly canceled a planned meeting with Putin on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Argentina, citing tensions after Russian forces opened fire on Ukrainian Navy boats before seizing them and capturing 24 Ukrainian sailors.

Earlier this month, Russian gun rights activist Maria Butina pleaded guilty to conspiring with a senior Russian official to infiltrate USA conservatives.

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

The arrest came with Moscow embroiled in a number of spy scandals with the West and after President Vladimir Putin accused Western nations of using espionage cases to try undermine an increasingly powerful Russian Federation.

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