Russia’s Lavrov Tells U.S. Counterpart to Free Woman Accused of Espionage

Russia’s foreign minister reached to his U.S. counterpart on Saturday urging him that a woman detained in the United States on accusations she was a Russian agent had been arrested on “fabricated charges” and should be freed, CNBC informed.

Sergei Lavrov made the remarks about Maria Butina in a phone call to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that was aimed at improving bilateral relations, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated in the wake of the recent summit in Helsinki.

On Wednesday, a U.S. judge ordered Butina imprisoned until her trial after U.S. prosecutors claimed she has ties to Russian intelligence and could flee the United States.

Butina has been accused of working with a high-powered Russian official and two unidentified U.S. citizens, trying to infiltrate a pro-gun rights organization in the United States and influence the United States’ foreign policy toward Russia.

Lavrov said the actions of the U.S. authorities, who arrested Butina “on the basis of fabricated charges,” were unacceptable and urged them to release her as soon as possible.

Lavrov and Pompeo also discussed ways to improve bilateral relations on “equal and mutually beneficial grounds” after the leaders of the two countries, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, met in Helsinki on Monday.

They also talked over possible joint efforts aimed at improving the humanitarian situation in Syria as well as the “challenges” of Korean peninsula de-nuclearization.

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