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>> The family of an American man detained by Russia on spying charges said on Tuesday that he is innocent and that he was visiting Moscow for a wedding. Paul Whelan, a retired U.S. Marine, was arrested last week. During what Russia called an act of espionage and said on Monday that a criminal case had been opened against him.
Reuters national security correspondent, Johnathan Lanay.>> The state department said that it has been informed by the Russians that an American has been arrested on espinog charges. And they are saying that under international law, US councilor officials in Moscow should have access to this individual.>> Under Russian law, Whelan could face a prison sentence between 10 and 20 years.
In a statement released on Twitter, the Whelan family said quote, his innocence is undoubted. Whelan's brother, David, said he was staying with the wedding party for a fellow former Marine in Moscow The brother decline to comment on Wayland's work status at the time of his arrest and whether his brother live in Novie, Michigan, as address records indicate.
The US has leveled its own accusations of spying against a Russian national. That case resulting in a guilty plea from Maria Butina in a deal with prosecutors. In December, she admitted to working with a top Russian official to infiltrate American conservative activist groups As an agent for Moscow.
>> Relations between the United States and Russia are in pretty bad shape. They have been deteriorating roughly since 2014 over Russia's seizure of Crimea from Ukraine. And there is just a host of other issues now That are really poisoning relations, be they disputes over nuclear arms control treaties, the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, and making things even worse, the ongoing investigations into Russian meddling or alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US Presidential elections.
>> On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote US President Donald Trump a letter for the new year saying he was ready for dialogue on a wide ranging agenda.