Moscow to provide assistance to Russian `spies` held by FBI

Last Updated: Thursday, July 1, 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.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, July 1, 2010 - 22:23

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