Russian security agency arrests 'US spy' in Moscow

Whelan family

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

Russian Federation detained a United States citizen in Moscow accused of spying, the Federal Security Service (FSB) security service said on Monday. A criminal case has been opened against him.

A criminal case under the article "espionage" has been initiated against an American citizen, the press service of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said in a statement.

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

If convicted on espionage charges Whelan could face up to 20 years in prison while U.S. - Russian Federation relations could take a substantial hit causing additional tensions to rise between the nations.

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USA intelligence services have accused Moscow of interfering in the 2016 presidential election and earlier this month convicted Russian Maria Butina of acting as an illegal foreign agent.

If found guilty, he faces between 10 and 20 years in jail.

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

According to BBC, the U.S. Department of State confirmed that Moscow notified them of the alleged arrest, but did not confirm the arrest or the man's name.

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