(Presidentialwire.com)- Last week, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said it opened a criminal case against an American citizen suspected of espionage, Reuters reported last Thursday.
The FSB did not provide any further details or name the American, nor did it clarify whether the alleged suspect is in custody.
In its statement, the FSB said that a criminal case was opened “under Article 276 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation – Espionage.” The unnamed American is “suspected of collecting intelligence on biological topics directed against the security of the Russian Federation.”
The FSB’s statement did not include details on the nature of the allegations.
In a briefing with reporters on Thursday, State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said the US is aware of “unconfirmed reports” of a criminal case against a US citizen suspected of espionage. Patel said the State Department was looking into the claim and would “continue to monitor” the situation.
Patel noted that generally, Moscow “does not abide by its obligations to provide timely notification” to the US when an American citizen is detained. He added that Russian authorities regularly fail to inform the US Embassy of “trials, sentencing, or movement of US citizens detained in Russia.”
Patel told reporters that the State Department urges US citizens not to travel to Russia and Americans in Russia “should leave immediately.”
The FSB’s statement comes less than two months after US basketball player Brittney Griner was released from a Russian jail in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout who was in US jail for arms trafficking, money laundering, and conspiracy to kill Americans.
Russia refuses to swap US Marine veteran Paul Whelan who was also arrested by the FSB on espionage charges in 2018. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2020.
According to Reuters, the Russian security services are often unwilling to release those who have been accused of espionage.