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Russia charges UK citizen with espionage

Russia has charged British citizen Paul Whelan with espionage following his arrest in Moscow.

International ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova showed at a briefing within the capital that the 48-year-old would face trial, and brushed aside tips he might be utilized in a prisoner change for a Russian held in the United States.

Mr Whelan – a former US marine born in Canada to British folks, and who now lives in Michigan – was once taken into custody on the finish of final month and may just face 20 years in prison if convicted of spying.

Paul Whelan
Mr Whelan is a former US marine

His circle of relatives stated he was once attending the marriage of fellow ex-serviceman, together with his dual David Whelan, insisting that his innocence is “undoubted”.

Talking all through a talk over with to Singapore final week, British International Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned the Kremlin to not use UK voters in “diplomatic chess video games”, with family members between the 2 international locations having soured considerably for the reason that poisoning of former undercover agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury final March.

The similar nerve agent used within the assault therefore claimed the lifetime of 44-year-old Daybreak Sturgess.

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt has warned Russia over the arrest

Mr Hunt instructed Sky Information that “people will have to now not be used as pawns of diplomatic leverage”.

“We’re giving him (Mr Whelan) each strengthen that we will, however we do not accept as true with people being utilized in diplomatic chess video games,” he added.

“As a result of it’s desperately being worried, now not only for the person however their households, and we’re extraordinarily fearful about him and his circle of relatives as we listen this information.”

Hypothesis that Russia is also maintaining Mr Whelan within the hope of securing a prisoner change got here after a former CIA leader based totally in Moscow stated the Kremlin was once willing to look the discharge of weapons rights activist Maria Butina.

Daniel Hoffman advised that Vladimir Putin had ordered the arrest of Mr Whelan to arrange a business for Butina, who final month pleaded to blame to appearing as a Kremlin agent to infiltrate the Nationwide Rifle Affiliation.

Moscow claims the 30-year-old was once compelled to make a false confession about being a Russian undercover agent, after she admitted looking to acquire intelligence on conservative political teams as Donald Trump rose to energy.

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