In this photo taken on Sunday, April 21, 2013, Maria Butina, leader of a pro-gun organization in Russia, speaks to a crowd during a rally in support of legalizing the possession of handguns in Moscow, Russia. Butina, a 29-year-old gun-rights activist, served as a covert Russian agent while living in Washington, gathering intelligence on American officials and political organizations and working to establish back-channel lines of communications for the Kremlin, federal prosecutors charged Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo)

Russian officials to meet suspected spy jailed in US

July 19, 2018 - 2:54 am

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian Embassy officials are to meet with a Siberian gun rights activist jailed in Washington on charges of spying on the United States.

The Embassy said in a Facebook post that consular officials will meet with Maria Butina on Thursday for the first time since her Sunday arrest, and will provide her "all necessary help."

Butina, 29, denies wrongdoing, and the Russian government has lashed out at the arrest as driven by U.S. domestic politics and "anti-Russian hysteria."

Federal prosecutors accuse Butina of being a covert Russian agent, having contacts with the KGB successor agency FSB, and using sex and deception to forge influential U.S. connections.

One of her former teachers told The Associated Press that just before her arrest she was considering a job in Silicon Valley.

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