Russia Arrests American Citizen, Paul Whelan, on Allegations of Espionage

Posted January 01, 2019

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

The state-run TASS news agency identified the man as Paul Whelan. A criminal case has been opened against him.

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

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki
Camera Icon Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow on Friday. No other details were given.

The investigation, however, is still ongoing according to the Ministry, and it doesn't appear as though formal charges have yet been brought.

News of the detention comes shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia is "open to dialogue" with the US in a holiday message to President Donald Trump on Sunday.

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Under Russian law, convictions in spying cases can carry prison terms of up to 20 years.

The detention of Whelan comes weeks after a Russian woman pleaded guilty in a US court to acting as an agent for the Kremlin.

American authorities detained and charged Russian national Maria Butina with spying earlier this year.

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The agency said the American was detained "while carrying out an act of espionage".

"We are aware of the detention of a USA citizen by Russian authorities", a press officer for the State Department in Washington said by e-mail on Monday.

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