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Russian foreign minister tells Mike Pompeo to free alleged spy Maria Butina

Click to play video 'Judge orders accused Russian agent Maria Butina jailed pending trial' Judge orders accused Russian agent Maria Butina jailed pending trial
WATCH ABOVE: Judge orders accused Russian agent Maria Butina jailed pending trial – Jul 18, 2018

Russia‘s foreign minister told his U.S. counterpart on Saturday that a woman arrested in the United States on accusations she was a Russian agent had been detained on “fabricated charges” and should be released.

Sergei Lavrov made the comments about Maria Butina in a phone call to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that was aimed at improving bilateral relations, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement in the wake of the recent summit in Helsinki.

READ MORE: Russian foreign ministry pushes for release of accused spy on social media

On Wednesday, a U.S. judge ordered Butina jailed until her trial after U.S. prosecutors argued she has ties to Russian intelligence and could flee the United States.

WATCH: Russian agent Maria Butina was at 2015 conference attended by Trump

Click to play video 'Russian agent Maria Butina was at 2015 conference attended by Trump' Russian agent Maria Butina was at 2015 conference attended by Trump
Russian agent Maria Butina was at 2015 conference attended by Trump – Jul 19, 2018

Butina has been accused of working with a high-powered Russian official and two unidentified U.S. citizens, trying to infiltrate a pro-gun rights organization in the United States and influence the United States’ foreign policy toward Russia.

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READ MORE: Alleged Russian spy Maria Butina offered sex in exchange for influence: prosecutors

Lavrov said the actions of the American authorities, who arrested Butina “on the basis of fabricated charges,” were unacceptable and called for her release as soon as possible.

WATCH: U.S. candidate for Congress talks about interaction with Russian agent Maria Butina

Click to play video 'U.S. candidate for Congress talks about interaction with Russian agent Maria Butina' U.S. candidate for Congress talks about interaction with Russian agent Maria Butina
U.S. candidate for Congress talks about interaction with Russian agent Maria Butina – Jul 18, 2018

Lavrov and Pompeo also discussed ways to improve bilateral relations on “equal and mutually beneficial grounds” after the leaders of the two countries, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, met in Helsinki on Monday.

They also talked over possible joint efforts aimed at improving the humanitarian situation in Syria as well as the “challenges” of Korean peninsula de-nuclearisation. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin Editing by Andrew Bolton)

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