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Russian Foreign Ministry comments on arrest of suspected Ukrainian spy

Ukrainian citizen Roman Sushchenko has been arrested in Russia on suspicion of conducting an espionage operation

MOSCOW, October 3. /TASS/. Ukrainian citizen Roman Sushchenko, who was arrested in Moscow on suspicion of spying, did not act as a journalist while staying in the country, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

"Sushchenko was in Russia without journalistic accreditation with the Russian Foreign Ministry that is given to all foreign reporters working in Russia," the ministry said responding to a statement of the Ukrainian side.

"He has not applied for accreditation although if he planned to work as a journalist he was obliged to do that," the ministry said.

Earlier a source familiar with the situation confirmed to TASS that a Ukrainian intelligence officer suspected of espionage had been arrested for two months. Sushchenko’s lawyer Mark Feigin in turn said that his client was being held in the Lefortovo remand center. According to the lawyer, Sushchenko was detained on September 30, he came Moscow on vacation to visit his relatives.

As the Center for Public Relations of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said, Ukrainian Defence Intelligence officer Roman Sushchenko had been detained while conducting an espionage operation. According to the center, "the Ukrainian national was purposefully collecting information on the Russian Armed Forces and the National Guard, constituting state secrets, the disclosure of which could have undermined Russia’s defense capabilities."

The FSB has initiated a criminal case against Sushchenko over espionage charges.

The Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform confirmed earlier that Roman Sushchenko detained in Moscow was the agency’s correspondent. He has been working for Ukrimform since 2002 and has been the agency’s correspondent in France since 2010.

The agency claims that Sushchenko was on leave and went to Moscow on personal business. According to the agency, the journalist was detained immediately after arriving in Russia. At the same time, the sources in Ukrinform have rejected the espionage allegations calling Sushchenko "a journalist with a long-term impeccable professional reputation". The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has not commented on the arrest.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense has not yet reacted on the FSB’s statement. The Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform has reported that the detainee was their own correspondent in France. The news agency claims that Sushchenko was in Moscow on vacation.