Russian diplomat calls on Pompeo to free accused Russian agent

Source: The Hill | July 21, 2018 | John Bowden

Russia’s top diplomat is calling on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to free a Russian woman accused of acting as an unregistered foreign agent in the United States.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov argued Saturday that Maria Butina had been detained “fabricated charges” and called for her release as soon as possible, Reuters reported.

Lavrov made the demand during a phone call with Pompeo aimed at improving relations between the two countries, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, according to Reuters.

According to the outlet, the two diplomats also discussed ways to improve Russia-U.S. relations on “equal and mutually beneficial grounds,” including on issues such as Syria and the “challenges” of working towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Butina, a 29-year-old Russian citizen, was arrested last Sunday and charged with “conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation within the United States without prior notification to the Attorney General,” according to the Justice Department.

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