A USA citizen has been detained in Moscow on suspicion of spying, Russia's FSB security service has said. "The investigative department of the FSB of Russia against a USA citizen opened a criminal case under article 276 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Espionage)".
The state Tass news agency identified the detained man as Paul Whelan. The Russian service has not shared any other details on the matter.
The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to NPR's request for comment.
In the past, Russian Federation has arrested foreigners with the aim of trading prisoners with other countries. In recent months the FSB has reported an increase of western-led espionage within Russian borders at a time when the country is also facing allegations of spying and interference in Europe and the US. She is likely to face up to six months in prison and then be deported to Russian Federation.
Tensions between Moscow and Washington have intensified since Russian Federation annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.
In his annual year-end news conference on December 20, Putin said Russian Federation would "not arrest innocent people simply to exchange them for someone else later on".