#US #Citizen #Arrested In #Moscow On #Suspicion Of #Spying

By Sasha Ingber, npr.org

A United States citizen has been arrested in Moscow on suspicion of espionage, Russia’s Federal Security Service announced Monday.

The domestic security agency the detained individual as Paul Whelan. It said in a short statement that he was caught during a spying operation, without adding further details.

A criminal investigation is underway, according to the security service.

If convicted of espionage, Whelan faces up to 20 years in jail.

The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to NPR’s request for comment.

The arrest comes days after Russian citizen Maria Butina pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as a secret foreign agent in the United States. Butina will be sentenced in 2019. She is likely to face up to six months in prison and then be deported to Russia.