Paul Whelan, a US citizen apparently living in Moscow, was detained on December 28 by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). He is presently being held under suspicion of spying, according to a statement from the FSB.
There is very little information being released about this situation. TASS reported:
“On December 28, 2018 staff members of the Russian Federal Security Service detained US citizen Paul Whelan in Moscow while on a spy mission,” the center said.
A criminal investigation into espionage has been launched against the US citizen.
If found guilty, he faces between 10 and 20 years in jail.
One post through Facebook, from a Miodrag Soric, offered this information:
According to Russian media, the FSB has detained an American citizen suspected of spying in Moscow. His name is Paul Whelan. A criminal case had been opened against him. The American had been detained on December 28. No reactions from Russian or American officials so far. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow could not immediately be reached for comment.
The FSB is usually rather tight-lipped about news of their actions, for understandable reasons. This is the first reported apprehension of an American in Russia to be reported in quite some time.