Tensions rise as the US demands Russia explain why they’ve arrested American citizen

Russian authorities detained an American citizen in Moscow last week on allegations of espionage, a curious move that could worsen already tense relations between the US and Russia.

Paul Whelan, a 48-year-old former Marine, was reportedly in Moscow to attend a wedding when he was arrested on December 28. Russia’s domestic security services (FSB) said Whelan was apprehended while on a “spy mission,” but did not elaborate on the charges against him.

A State Department spokesperson confirmed to Vox Wednesday that US Ambassador Jon Huntsman visited Whelan at a Russian detention facility, but didn’t offer any other details due to privacy concerns. The spokesperson added that Huntsman had been in touch with Whelan’s family.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefly addressed Whelan’s detention during a trip to Brazil. “We’ve made clear to the Russians our expectation that we will learn more about the charges, come to understand what it is he’s been accused of, and if the detention is not appropriate, we will demand his immediate return,” Pompeo told reporters Wednesday.

Whelan’s family members, for their part, have dismissed allegations of espionage. In a statement, they said Whelan’s “innocence is…

Continue reading at VOX.com

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