Russia Charges Former U.S. Consulate Employee for Collecting Information About the War

Russia’s home safety service mentioned on Monday {that a} former worker of the U.S. Consulate in Vladivostok had been charged for illegally accumulating details about the warfare in Ukraine and passing it to American officers.

The Federal Security Service, or F.S.B., introduced the fees in opposition to Robert Shonov, a Russian nationwide who was detained in May. The fees carry a punishment of three to eight years imprisonment.

There was no quick remark from the U.S. Consulate in Vladivostok or from the State Department. When Mr. Shonov was detained, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that the United States strongly condemned his arrest and referred to as the allegations in opposition to him “wholly without merit.”

Mr. Miller mentioned that Mr. Shonov had labored for the U.S. Consulate in Vladivostok for 25 years and started working for a personal contractor for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in April 2021, after the Russian authorities ordered the firings of all Russian workers at U.S. diplomatic missions in the nation.

Mr. Miller mentioned that Mr. Shonov’s job had been to write down summaries of reports media stories “from publicly available Russian media sources,” and that his employment was “in strict compliance with Russia’s laws and regulations.”

In its assertion on Monday, the F.S.B. mentioned that it was in search of to query two workers of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, whom it accused of directing Mr. Shonov’s actions.

Mr. Shovov’s arrest this spring got here at a tense time for U.S.-Russian relations amid President Vladimir V. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and Russia’s detention in March of Evan Gershkovich, an American reporter for The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Gershkovich has been accused by the Russian authorities of espionage and is being held in pretrial detention that has been prolonged till at the very least Nov. 30.

Paul Whelan, a company safety government and former U.S. marine, was arrested in Moscow in 2018 for espionage and given a 16-year jail sentence.

American officers have vehemently denied the fees in opposition to each Mr. Whelan and Mr. Gershkovich and mentioned that they take into account each to be wrongly detained, a designation that basically means the U.S. authorities considers them political hostages.

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