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It said in a statement that the American was detained on Friday "while carrying out an act of espionage" and that a criminal case had been opened.

In a short statement, the agency notes Russia's Federal Security Service detained a U.S. citizen named Paul Whelan in Moscow on Friday.

On December 28th, Russian authorities detained American Paul Whelan.

If found guilty, he faces between 10 and 20 years in jail, Russia's Tass news agency reports. The Russian service has not shared any other details on the matter.

According to BBC, the U.S. Department of State confirmed that Moscow notified them of the alleged arrest, but did not confirm the arrest or the man's name. Maria Butina allegedly tried to infiltrate the National Rifle Association in hopes of influencing USA policies in favor of Moscow.

According to Reuters, the man was allegedly arrested on December 28th, but neither the United States nor Russian Federation have commented on the nature of his alleged spying activity. She is likely to face up to six months in prison and then be deported to Russian Federation. Russian agents are suspected of poisoning former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England.

In his annual press conference this month, Putin said Western pressure was aimed at restraining a resurgent Russian Federation.