After Smuggling, Moscow Denies New U.S. Spy Ring
By Nastassia Astrasheuskaya and Maria Tsvetkova/Reuters
October 05, 2012
Russia said on Thursday the Kremlin had nothing to do with a network alleged by the United States to be smuggling military technology to Moscow.
The U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday it had broken up an elaborate network aimed at illegally acquiring U.S.-made microelectronic components for Russian military and spy agencies. It charged 11 people with taking part.
The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed surprise at the allegations.
“The charges are of a criminal nature and have nothing to do with intelligence activity,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian news agencies.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Washington had informed Moscow that the charges were criminal and unrelated to espionage.
“We will look into this situation and what really happened, and what charges are being imposed on our citizens,” he said.
Lukashevich said U.S. authorities had “not properly informed” Russia of the arrest of its citizens. Russian diplomats were seeking access to them and a consul had met one in a courtroom, he said.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview this week that Moscow and Washington must do more to strengthen relations.