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Russia claims American they arrested in Moscow is a spy

Vladimir Putin
Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russia's counter-espionage agency says it arrested a U.S. citizen in Moscow on Friday, identified as Paul Whelan, and charged him with espionage, the BBC reports.

The big picture: This comes weeks after Russian spy Maria Butina pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in U.S. federal court. The U.S. has not yet confirmed Whelan's arrest, per the BBC; he faces 10–20 years in jail in Russia if found guilty.