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Ambassador slams Russian citizen’s arrest in US as farce

Maria Butina, 29, was arrested in Washington DC on July 15

MOSCOW, July 20. /TASS/. The situation regarding Russian citizen Maria Butina’s arrest in the United States is a total farce, Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov said at a session of the Valdai International Discussion Club on Friday. According to him, Moscow will continue demanding her release.

"What they are doing is a farce, a tragedy," the ambassador said.

"The charges brought against her are absolutely illegal, as well as attempts to prevent Russian diplomats form visiting her, and attempts to break her, actually. She is having a hard time, so I have heard from diplomats who visited her," he added.

"We are trying to help and we will continue demanding her release so that she can go home," Antonov stressed.

Butina’s case

Maria Butina, 29, was arrested in Washington DC on July 15.

According to the US Department of Justice, she is suspected of acting "as an agent of Russia inside the United States by developing relationships with US persons and infiltrating organizations having influence in American politics, for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation."

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow considered Washington’s allegations against Butina to be groundless and politically motivated. According to her, Russia has been doing everything possible to protect the woman’s legitimate rights and interests.