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Lavrov calls for Maria Butina’s immediate release

The Russian Foreign Minister described her detention as ‘unacceptable’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in a telephone conversation, called for the immediate release of Russian citizen Maria Butina, who has been accused of being a spy for the Kremlin, among other fabricated charges. In a press release published to the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website a week after President Vladimir Putin’s Helsinki summit with American President Donald Trump, Butina’s detention was described as ‘unacceptable’:

On July 21, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the initiative of the US side.

Mr. Lavrov and Mr. Pompeo elaborated on the July 16 Russian-US summit in Helsinki and exchanged opinions on prospects for further expanding bilateral relations as well as normalising them on an equitable and mutually beneficial footing.

They also discussed the situation in and around Syria, including possible Russian-US cooperation to resolve humanitarian matters in the Syrian Arab Republic together with other countries, and efforts linked with supporting efforts to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula.

Mr. Lavrov underscored the unacceptability of actions of US authorities who had arrested Russian citizen Maria Butina on trumped-up charges and the need for her fastest possible release.

In the interest of following up on Trump’s proposal to improve relations between the United States and Russia, Lavrov’s conversation with the American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, was constructed along those lines, as well as addressing other areas of concern, such as North Korea’s denuclearization and the humanitarian situation in Syria.

Butina has been charged with infiltrating American gun rights organization National Rifle Association as a spy with ties to top brass in the Russian intelligence community in the interest of influencing America’s relations with Russia. Reports are also materializing that Butina met with various officials from the Obama administration, and even some obscure reports that she met with an official currently operating a role in the Israeli government.

She was arrested on Wednesday, following Trump’s Monday meeting with Putin, and was denied bail on the basis that she is an aggravated flight risk, due to her supposed ties to Russian intelligence.



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