Euronews is no longer accessible on Internet Explorer. This browser is not updated by Microsoft and does not support the last technical evolutions. We encourage you to use another browser, such as Edge, Safari, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

Russia charges American with espionage - Interfax citing 'informed source'

Russia charges American with espionage - Interfax citing 'informed source'
Paul Whelan, a U.S. citizen detained in Russia for suspected spying, appears in a photo provided by the Whelan family on January 1, 2019. Courtesy Whelan Family/Handout via REUTERS -
Euronews logo
Text size Aa Aa

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has charged former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan with espionage, Interfax news agency reported on Thursday, citing what it described as an informed source.

Russia's FSB security service detained Whelan on Dec. 28 in Moscow on suspicion of spying but did not disclose the nature of his alleged espionage activities.

Reuters could not independently verify the Interfax report.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that the United States wants an explanation for why Russia detained Whelan on spying charges and will demand his immediate return if it determines his detention is inappropriate.

Whelan's family has said that he was visiting Moscow for the wedding of a retired Marine and is innocent of the espionage charges against him.

Under Russian law, espionage can carry sentences of between 10 and 20 years in prison.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

euronews provides breaking news articles from reuters as a service to its readers, but does not edit the articles it publishes. Articles appear on for a limited time.