(NationRise.com) – The United States blasted the Kremlin for the arrest of a former employee of the American embassy in Moscow named Robert Shonov, claiming that the conspiracy charges brought against him were “wholly without merit.”
According to Russia’s state-run news agency TASS, Russian authorities detained Shonov in Vladivostok, which is located on the southeastern coast of the Eurasian nation. The report points out he was charged with collaborating with an international organization or a foreign state on a confidential basis. This isn’t the first time that Russian authorities arrest someone who works for the United States and accuse them of conspiracy or espionage. Experts point out this is a common strategy to force anyone who lives in Russia not to work with the Kremlin’s main geopolitical foe.
According to the US State Department, Shonov is a Russian national who worked for the United States Consulate General in the city for nearly 30 years. The Department also pointed out he was employed by a private company that used to provide different services to the American Embassy in Moscow after the Kremlin ordered the termination of every local staff to the United States Mission. It added that every single detail was in compliance with “Russia’s laws and regulations.”
In a statement, a State Department spokesperson said that, at the time of his detention, Shonov’s sole responsibility was to gather press summaries from publicly accessible Russian media sources. The statement also points out that the fact that he was singled out under the “confidential cooperation” statute illustrates how openly the Kremlin is using laws that are becoming more oppressive against the Russian people.
As reported by the New York Times, Shonov was taken to the Lefortovo detention center and is currently facing eight years in prison. This center is the same one where American Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich is being detained.
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