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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Conflicts: Russia: Americans arrested for espionage

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An American is said to have collected secret information on the “biological issue” and sent it to Washington. He has now been arrested and faces a long prison sentence.

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Russia’s domestic intelligence service, the FSB, says it has arrested an American for espionage. Criminal proceedings had been initiated against him for collecting secret information on “biological issues,” the FSB said in Moscow.

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It was said that his activities were directed against the security of the Russian Federation. The FSB did not give any details. The man faces up to 20 years in prison. For the Kremlin, such cases are considered “valuable bargaining chips” to free Russians imprisoned in the United States. Recently, the US and Russia had repeatedly exchanged prisoners.

The most recent releases of US citizens have shown Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin that it is time to replenish the “exchange fund”, said Russian opposition figure Leonid Volkov in his exile abroad. “Every foreigner in Russia is now first and foremost potentially someone for the exchange fund,” said Volkov, who works for Alexei Navalny, an opponent of Putin who is in prison.

The power apparatus in Moscow has long been criticized for constructing procedures against foreigners in order to then exchange them for Russians who are imprisoned in other countries.

Brothers convicted in Sweden of spying for Russia

Meanwhile, two brothers in Sweden have been sentenced to long prison terms for serious espionage for Russia. The older of the two was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Stockholm, the younger to nine years and ten months. There is no doubt that the brothers obtained, transported and disclosed information for Russia and the Russian military intelligence service GRU, the court said. Disclosure of this information to a foreign power could harm Sweden’s security.

The 42- and 35-year-old men were each found guilty of aggravated espionage, and the older man of unauthorized handling of secret information. According to the indictment, the 42-year-old was employed by the Swedish intelligence service Säpo and the military and obtained the documents as part of these jobs. His younger brother was therefore involved in planning the crimes and maintained contacts with Russia and the GRU.

The two accused have consistently denied the allegations, which relate to a period of around ten years. They were taken into custody in September and November 2021 respectively. Since a lot of secret information played a role in the process, it mostly took place behind closed doors.

Source: Stern

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