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US accuses Russia of intimidation after ex-consulate worker charged with spying

The United States on Monday (Aug 28) accused Moscow of attempting to intimidate and harass US employees after Russian state media reported that a former US consulate worker had been charged by security services with collecting information on the war in Ukraine and other issues for Washington.

Russian state news agency TASS quoted the FSB security service as saying that Robert Shonov, a Russian national, relayed information to US embassy staffers in Moscow on how Russia’s conscription campaign was impacting political discontent ahead of the 2024 presidential election in Russia.

The FSB said it planned to question US embassy employees who were in contact with Shonov, who has been under arrest since May.

Shonov was employed by the US Consulate General in the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok for more than 25 years until Russia in 2021 ordered the termination of the US mission’s local staff.

State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller repeated the US position that the allegations against Shonov, who Washington says was subsequently employed via a company contracted to the US embassy to summarise news reports, “are wholly without merit”.

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