Russia's domestic security agency said on Monday December 31st that it has arrested a US citizen on espionage charges.
As reported by AP, the Federal Security Service (FSB), said Paul Whelan was detained in Moscow on Friday December 28th. The agency said in Monday's statement that he was caught "during an espionage operation" but did not give any details.
Spying charges carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years in Russia.
The US State Department said it was "aware of the detention of a US citizen by Russian authorities" and had received formal notification from the Russian Foreign Ministry. It said it was pushing for consular access to the detained American.
The department said, "Russia's obligations under the Vienna Convention require them to provide consular access. We have requested this access and expect Russian authorities to provide it."