Moscow to provide assistance to Russian `spies` held by FBI
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Last Updated: Thursday, July 01, 2010, 22:23
Moscow: Russia on Thursday vowed to provide all necessary assistance to its nationals arrested by the FBI on charges of espionage and would seek full information on the 'spy scandal'.

"If there be need for assistance, we, of course, will provide it to full extent. We will also seek full information about what actually happened," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko today said.

Ten people were arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) on Sunday on suspicion of being part of an espionage ring spying for Russia.

An 11th suspect was detained on Tuesday in Cyprus, but reports on Wednesday said police on the island were looking for him after he apparently jumped bail.

After initially reacting with fury, Russia has since been at pains to prevent the scandal spiralling into a major diplomatic crisis and said it does not expect the incident to harm relations.

It had threatened to derail the recent 'burger' diplomacy between Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev and the 'reset' in bilateral ties.

Russian officials have sought an explanation from the United States over the arrest of the Russian "spies".

Meanwhile, Russia's Children Ombudsman said that putting the children of the 11 US spy suspects under state care was an extreme measure.

Among the accused, there are four married couples with children.

"By law, priority is given to close relatives and friends in situations like this. But if this is impossible, the children are placed under state care as a last resort. I hope...the interests of the children will be taken into account when the court makes its decision," ombudsman Pavel Astakhov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

The Washington Post today reported that child protection agencies in several US states are deciding if they can allow relatives of the suspects to care for the children during the investigation.


First Published: Thursday, July 01, 2010, 22:23

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