U.S. citizen arrested in Russia on spying charges

Paul Whelan of Michigan has reportedly been arrested in Moscow by the Federal Security Service under charges of espionage

"On December 28, 2018 staff members of the Russian Federal Security Service detained USA citizen Paul Whelan in Moscow while on a spy mission", the center said.

Russias Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Monday that it has detained a USA citizen on suspicion of espionage.

By Russian law, foreigners found guilty of spying on Russia face between 10 and 20 years in prison.

As tensions between the United States and Russia continue to build, it is now being reported by Russian news agency, TASS, that an American citizen named Paul Whelan has been detained by FSB officers. No other details were given.

The U.S. State Department said it knows about "the detention of a U.S. citizen by Russian authorities" but said it had not been given formal notification by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Tensions between Moscow and Washington have intensified since Russian Federation annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

A criminal investigation into espionage has been launched against the United States citizen.

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

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.

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