MOSCOW, January 30./TASS/. A request of the British side for consular access to Paul Whelan detained in Russia on espionage charges has been approved, and preparations for the visit are underway, an embassy representative told TASS on Tuesday.
"The Russian government agencies have coordinated a visit of consular officers to the British citizen detained in Moscow. Consular officers from the British Embassy are organizing the visit," he said.
Apart from being a US citizen, Paul Whelan also holds British, Canadian and Irish passports. Diplomats from the US, Irish and Canadian embassies have already visited him in a pre-trial detention center.
Russia’s federal security service FSB announced that on December 28 it detained Whelan when he was involved in a spy operation. He faces criminal charges under Article 276 of the Criminal Code (Espionage). The maximum punishment ranges ten to twenty years in jail. US Ambassador Jon Huntsman visited Whelan at the pre-trial detention center of Moscow’s Lefortovo prison on January 2.