Russia’s spy suspicions have led to the arrest of a US citizen named Paul Whelan claiming to be a spy. The American citizen was arrested by the Russian Security Service members and faces a possibility of facing in jail for up to 20 years. There isn’t much detailed information being provided by the Russian authorities. However, they have mentioned that the American Embassy has been informed related to the incident.
The arrest is followed by allegations against Russia interfering during 2016 American elections, which have caused tensions between the countries. Another reason behind the arrest is due to the arrest of Maria Butina (a popular gun-rights activist). She is a Russian citizen who was arrested in 2018, having been found guilty of committing espionage. However, Maria claims that she had no role in promoting any kind of Russian interest in the United States.
Russian Government has provided support and defended Maria Butina by claiming that the United States of America tortured and pressured her in order to plead guilty. Russian Foreign Ministry and various other support committees have launched the ‘#FreeMariaButina campaign’ in order for her to be free and released soon.
Another on-going reason is the death of former Sergei Skripal and Yulia (his daughter), due to poisoning in the United Kingdom. British Intelligence claimed that 2 Russian military spies were responsible for this crime.
Many Western countries have been accused by Russian President, Vladimir Putin, of trying to make Russia look weak. During an annual press conference in mid-December of 2018, Putin said that Russia is not going to take any kind of revenge for Russian citizens getting arrested in U.S.A. However, tensions continue to rise.