Breaking: A U.S. Spy Captured in Russia?

Posted: Dec 31, 2018 10:30 AM
Breaking: A U.S. Spy Captured in Russia?

Officials who work for Russia's domestic security agency reported late Friday, on Russian run state media, that they have arrested a U.S. citizen on espionage charges.

As of early this morning, The United States identified the man as Paul Whelan.

CBS News reports

The agency said in Monday's statement that he was caught "during an espionage operation," but didn't give any details. The state Tass news agency identified the detained man as Paul Whelan. Spying charges carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years in Russia.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the U.S. Embassy was duly notified about the arrest, but wouldn't give any further information. 

There was no immediate comment from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, the White House or U.S. State Department.

No details were offered about Whelan or the crimes he allegedly committed. 

If convicted on espionage charges Whelan could face up to 20 years in prison while U.S. - Russia relations could take a substantial hit causing additional tensions to rise between the nations.

The arrest comes as relations between the two countries have declined with concerns such as the Ukrainian crisis, the ongoing war in Syria, and the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election all still being topics of controversy.

This story is developing and will be updated when more information emerges.