Accused Of Spying, US Citizen Detained In Russia

Russia’s Federal Security Service

The investigation department of the FSB, as the domestic security service is widely known, started a criminal case and investigations are underway, Interfax said, citing the FSB.

Russian authorities have detained an American citizen over accusations of spying, according to Russia's Interfax news agency.

A United States citizen has been detained in Moscow on suspicion of spying, Russia's FSB security service has said.

The announcement comes a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow remained open to dialogue with Washington in a New Year's greeting to U.S. President Donald Trump.

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If found guilty, he faces between 10 and 20 years in jail. Maria Butina allegedly tried to infiltrate the National Rifle Association in hopes of influencing USA policies in favor of Moscow.

The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to NPR's request for comment. The US is also investigating whether Russian Federation interfered in US elections in 2016.

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

Spy scandals have also rocked diplomatic relations recently in other parts of the world.

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