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FBI steps up pressure on Russian compatriots in US — Foreign Ministry

In July 2018, Maria Butina was arrested in Washington just for having a Russian passport, the Russian Foreign Ministry said

MOSCOW, May 8. /TASS/. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has noticeably increased pressure on Russian citizens residing in the US, suspecting them of disloyalty, the Russian Foreign Ministry informed TASS in relation to US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s upcoming visit to Russia.

"The FBI has increased pressure on our compatriots residing in the USA, suspected of disloyalty," the ministry noted. "In July 2018, Maria Butina was arrested in Washington just for having a Russian passport. She was accused of political lobbyism on the wave of Russophobic hysteria."

The Russian Foreign Ministry has periodically warned Russian citizens going abroad of the threat of persecution by US law enforcement bodies and intelligence agencies. The ministry pointed out that the Russian citizens extradited to the US, like those arrested on US territory, "often face biased attitude from local judicial bodies and courts."

Maria Butina, 30, was arrested in Washington DC on July 15, 2018. The US Department of Justice said that she was 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." On April 26, 2019, a court in Washington sustained the prosecution’s request for sentencing Butina to 18 months behind bars.