Jailed American Spent Years Collecting Russian Contacts

Donald Trump speaks during the presidential debate in Hempstead New York on Sept. 26 2016

Donald Trump speaks during the presidential debate in Hempstead New York on Sept. 26 2016

The arrest of United States former marine Paul Whelan in Russian Federation has sparked intrigue across the globe.

Russian Federation has been holding 48-year-old Paul Whelan as an American spy since his arrest in Moscow Dec. 28.

The Russian Embassy to the United States is seeking consular access to Russian national Dmitry Makarenko detained at the request of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which the USA authorities should have granted before January 2, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary on Saturday.

Mr Whelan was born in Canada to British parents but moved to the U.S. as a child. His family says he was simply visiting Russian Federation to attend a wedding.

"He was missing a lot of personal necessities, like toilet paper, that aren't provided", David Whelan said in a telephone interview. The FSB said Whelan was caught engaging in espionage activity, and unverified Russian news reports further alleged he had for years been involved in spying and was arrested in his hotel room in Moscow with a secret list of Russian government personnel.

Michael Olivas, a law professor at the University of Houston, said that being a citizen in as many as four countries might be unique, but that it's "increasingly common that people would have two or more" passports.

In a Washington Post op-ed published Friday, his twin brother, David, who lives in Newmarket, Ont., urged the US government to pressure Russian Federation to release him.

Russian Federation demanded an explanation from the United States on Saturday over the arrest of one of its nationals, amid tensions between the two countries after Moscow held a U.S. citizen for alleged espionage.

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Marine Paul Whelan is in custody after being accused of espionage by the Russian government.

Paul Whelan established an account on VKontakte, a social media service similar to Facebook that is popular among Russians, which showed he had scores of contacts in Russia.

Meanwhile, Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said it is too early to talk of "the possibility of exchanges" as Mr Whelan is yet to be formally charged, according to the country's news agencies.

Huntsman said he couldn't discuss the case in detail but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US would be demanding Whelan's release if no evidence is shown. He said Whelan gave him his home address and they exchanged Christmas cards.

Mr Whelan joined the Marine Reserves in 1994 and rose to the rank of staff sergeant in 2004.

The former marine was dishonorably discharged a decade ago after being convicted of larceny. So is Paul Whelan being used as a pawn on the chessboard of global politics? Jon Huntsman, visited Whelan on Wednesday at Moscow's Lefortovo prison, a State Department official told NPR. The US has so far taken the lead as his brother entered Russian Federation on his US passport.

Makarenko's detention is the latest in a string of arrests by United States authorities of Russian citizens.

The Russian announcement comes as Britain's foreign minister, Jeremy Hunt, warned Moscow not to try and use Whelan - who is a citizen of Britain, the U.S., Canada and Ireland - for political purposes. He is now director of global security for Michigan-based automotive components supplier BorgWarner.

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