Russia's Foreign Ministry on Friday January 11th roundly dismissed suggestions that an American arrested in Moscow on suspicion of spying could be used in a prisoner swap for a Russian held in the United States.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing that Paul Whelan, a former US Marine arrested last month in Moscow on suspicion of spying, is accused of espionage, and will face trial.
According to the Russian news agency TASS, she commented: "I would like to emphasize that exchanging Paul Whelan for someone held in custody abroad is out of the question at the current stage. There are numerous reports on that score, there are outright speculations and fake news, but I have now voiced the official Russian stance."
The Russian spokeswoman said that Whelan had been detained in Moscow on December 29th, 2018 and was currently held at the Lefortovo pre-trial detention centre in Moscow.