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Pompeo demands answers on U.S. citizen held in Russia

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Pompeo demands answers on U.S. citizen held in Russia

Pompeo demands answers on U.S. citizen held in Russia

The United States is demanding Moscow provide details on the detention of a retired U.S. Marine in Russia on spying charges, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday, adding Washington may demand his return.

Vanessa Johnston has the story.


Pompeo demands answers on U.S. citizen held in Russia

Pompeo: "We've made it clear to the Russians our expectations that we will learn more about the charges..." U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday demanded answers from Moscow over the detention of an American citizen Russia says is a US spy.

"...If the detention is not appropriate, we will demand his immediate return." Paul Whelan -- a former Marine -- was detained in Moscow on Friday by Russia's state security service...without giving details of the charges against him.

Whelan's family: firmly denying the espionage charges against him....saying he had been visiting Moscow for the wedding of a former fellow Marine... ...releasing a statement on Twitter saying "his innocence is undoubted and we trust that his rights will be respected." On Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman met with Whelan...the State Department saying in a statement that Huntsman quote "expressed his support for Mr. Whelan and offered the embassy's assistance." His brother David told CNN Paul Whelan has been to Russia many times for both work and personal trips.

BorgWarner, a Michigan-based automotive parts supplier, says Whelan is the company's director for global security...overseeing their facilities around the world.

Whelan's arrest comes amid rising tensions between Moscow and Washington after Russian ex-patriot Maria Butina pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges for trying to infiltrate conservative groups such as the NRA as an agent of the Kremlin, which Moscow denies….

A former CIA Moscow station chief told Reuters it was "possible, even likely" that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered Whelan's detention to set up an exchange for Butina.

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