Russia's Federal Security Service said Thursday it has initiated an espionage case against a US citizen but did not name the person or specify whether they were in custody. In a brief statement, the FSB service said the American is "suspected of collecting intelligence information on biological topics directed against the security of the Russian Federation." A State Department spokesperson said the US State Department is aware of what it called unconfirmed reports, the AP reports. "Generally, the Russian Federation does not abide by its obligations to provide timely notification of the detention of U.S. citizens in Russia," Vedant Patel said.
Russia currently is detaining several Americans, per CBS News. Russia and the US have accused each other have making arrests for political reasons, and relations have worsened since Russia invaded Ukraine. "Russian authorities also don’t regularly inform the embassy of the trials, sentencing or movement of US citizens," Patel added. "We're looking into this matter and will continue to monitor it." The charge carries a potential prison term of 10-20 years. Paul Whelan, a Michigan corporate security executive, has been jailed in Russia for four years on espionage charges that his family and the US government have said are baseless.
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