HomeWorldUS accuses Russia of intimidation after ex-consulate worker charged with spying

US accuses Russia of intimidation after ex-consulate worker charged with spying

The United States accused Moscow on Monday of trying to intimidate  American officials, after Russian state media reported that a former US official had been accused by the intelligence service of gathering information for Washington on the war in Ukraine and other issues. 
An employee detained by the United States in Vladivostok has been accused of providing information to American experts about Russia’s work in Ukraine and related issues, Russia’s top national security agency said on Monday. Russia’s main national security agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), said Robert Shonov was suspected of “gathering information on special military operations, competitive procedures, issues in the Russian region and assessing their impact on the people’s struggle in Russia.” On the eve of the 2024 presidential election.   Russia’s FSB, a senior official of the KGB, said it also published a report to question two US agents who allegedly ordered Shonov to gather information  

Shonov was charged under a new provision of Russian law that criminalizes “collectively collaborating with foreign, international or foreign organizations for the explicit purpose of facilitating their activities for Russia’s security”. Critics of the Kremlin say the penalty is too broad and could be used to punish any Russian with foreign connections. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.   The US Department of Homeland Security said in its latest report that the use of the “secret conspiracy” law against Shonov “proves that the Russian government is escalating violence against its citizens.”

On the other hand, US State Department Spokesperson Mathew Miller said “Russia’s targeting of Mr Shonov under the ‘confidential cooperation’ statute only highlights the increasingly repressive actions the Russian government is taking against its citizens,” 

The act of obtaining confidential information without authorization is a serious offense that can have diplomatic and security implications. In the response, the US Government has accused Russia of intimidation tactics, alleging that the actions taken against former consulate workers were meant to deter and silence potential sources of information.

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