Kremlin denies reports of possible exchange of Paul Whelan for Russian agent Maria Butina

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied media publications that claim that Moscow may exchange US citizen Paul Whelan, arrested on December 28th on suspicions of espionage for Russian agent Maria Butina.

Federal Security Service officials have detained Whelan, a former US marine, on December 28th of last year. Multiple appeared in the press where writers assumed that Moscow could use the arrest of Whelan and exchange him for Maria Butina, who is currently under arrest in the United States. The Russian woman pleaded guilty to illegal work as a foreign agent for the Kremlin.

The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova said Friday, during a press briefing that Moscow and Washington are not negotiating any exchange. She said that media publications claiming this publish “fake news.”

Zakharova added that Russia would allow British, Irish, and Canadian diplomats to visit Whelan in the detention facility. The American arrested in Moscow has citizenship in four countries.

  Russia, Maria Butina, Paul Whelan