Russia Says It Arrested a 'US Spy' in Moscow

An undated handout image released by the Whelan family showing Paul Whelan of Michigan who has reportedly been arrested in Moscow Russia by the FSB under charges of espionage despite the family advising he was in Russia for a wedding

Russian security agency arrests 'US spy' in Moscow

The domestic security agency the detained individual as Paul Whelan. The statement implied that he had been caught red-handed, saying that the arrest had occurred "during an act of espionage".

Paul Whelan was arrested while "carrying out spying activities" December 28, according to the FSB statement cited by The Wall Street Journal.

The security agency referenced a section of Russia's criminal code dealing with espionage, but did not provide any information about the specifics of the charges involved. The State Department has requested consular access to see the American citizen.

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The US Embassy in Moscow could not immediately be reached for comment.

Russia's Tass news agency said Whelan faces between 10 and 20 years in jail if found guilty.

It provided no further details.

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Hua also added that the teacher's situation was different from the two other Canadian detainees. China severely punishes those caught smuggling or trafficking drugs, including foreigners.

A Russian national, Maria Butina, was also convicted in the United States for acting as an illegal foreign agent.

The arrest comes as Russia-U.S. ties have sunk to post-Cold War lows over the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and the allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The Russian government, while strenuously denying that Ms. Butina is a Russian agent, has organized a social media campaign to win her release.

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In the past, Russian Federation has arrested foreigners with the aim of trading prisoners with other countries.

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