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Russia’s Lavrov insists on Butina’s soonest release in talk with Pompeo

July 21, 17:55 UTC+3

Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that the steps of US administration, which arrested Russian citizen Butina in the United States basing on trumped-up charges, are inadmissible

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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, July 21. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov underscored in his telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that US actions against Russian citizen Maria Butina were inadmissible, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

"Lavrov has pointed out that the steps of US administration, which arrested Russian citizen Butina in the United States basing on trumped-up charges, are inadmissible and that she should be released as soon as possible," the statement says.

The 29-year-old Maria Butina was arrested in Washington on July 15. The Russian gun rights activist faces the charges of conspiracy for conducting activities in the interests of a foreign state. The investigators claim she engaged in these activities without registering as a foreign agent at the US Department of Justice.

The FBI said earlier this week Butina entered the US in August 2016 on a student visa and took up studies at the American University. She received the master’s degree in international relations in May 2018, according to her lawyer.

Butina is a member of the board of the Russian public associations ‘The Right to Guns’. In this capacity, she attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington in February 2017 where President Donald Trump took part.

On July 20, Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov slammed Butina’s arrest as a farce, promising Moscow would insist on its release.

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