July 22, 2018 11:05 am
Updated: July 22, 2018 11:07 am

US mum on Russia’s claim the two discussed accused Russian spy Maria Butina on phone call

Judge orders accused Russian agent Maria Butina jailed pending trial


The U.S. version of what the top American and Russian diplomats discussed in their most recent telephone call makes no mention of Maria Butina, the Russian woman arrested by American authorities and suspected of being a covert Kremlin agent.

Moscow, however, says her case came up in the conversation.

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

The State Department’s description Sunday of the officials’ call mentions “a broad range of issues,” including Syria, counterterrorism, dialogue between U.S. and Russian businesses and “diplomatic access.”

But Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Saturday that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had complained in the call to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo  about the arrest of Maria Butina on “fabricated charges” and spoke about “the need for her early release.”

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Butina, 29, was arrested and charged last Monday with conspiring to act as an agent of the Russian government.

She’s also accused of infiltrating political groups.

The Justice Department said in its announcement of her arrest that prosecutors have evidence that Butina was working at the direction of a high-level official from the Russian Central Bank who was recently hit with American sanctions.

Neither the official nor the American political group she is alleged to have infiltrated were named in the court documents.

With files from Amanda Connolly.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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