Russia's Lavrov: We're not rubbing our hands with glee over Brexit

Russia's Lavrov: We're not rubbing our hands with glee over Brexit

Russia's Lavrov: We're not rubbing our hands with glee over Brexit

Lavrov rejected the allegations that Russian authorities could have arrested Whelan in order to swap him for one of the Russians held in the USA, saying "we don't do such things".

The 48-year-old MI resident was in Moscow to attend a wedding.

Lavrov also repeated suggestions that Moscow would like to preserve the 2010 New START treaty governing USA and Russian long-range nuclear arms, which is set to expire in 2021 but can be extended for five years by mutual agreement.

"He was detained at the moment he was carrying out specific illegal actions in his hotel".

Mr Lavrov rejected claims Russian authorities could have arrested Mr Whelan in order to swap him for one of the Russians held in the United States, saying "we don't do such things".

Paul Whelan's family is insisting that he is innocent and was in Russian Federation for a wedding.

"We welcome and support contacts that have now begun between Kurdish representatives and Syrian authorities so they can return to their lives under a single government without outside interference", said Lavrov.

He also said Mr Whelan's brother was in Moscow and had been briefed about prison conditions, but David Whelan told Reuters on Tuesday such reports were "false".

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that Moscow and Tokyo are still "far from being partners" despite renewed efforts to resolve a decades-old conflict over disputed islands.

A review of Whelan's social media activity showed that he had online contact with more than 20 Russians with military backgrounds.

Russian Federation denies any such strategy and accuses US President Donald Trump of using Moscow as a pretext to quit the INF Treaty.

Whelan lives in Novi, Michigan, according to public records. The Interfax news agency later carried the foreign ministry's statement saying that Mr Whelan's brother was not in the Russian capital. He is director of global security at BorgWarner, a USA auto parts maker based in MI.

The same source was quoted as saying that Whelan had been spying for 10 years using the internet to identify targets from whom he could obtain information and that the employee list he was caught with had always been of interest to US spies.

Putin has also said that if Washington moved to place more missiles in Europe after ditching the deal, Russia would respond "in kind" and that any European countries agreeing to host USA missiles would be at risk of a Russian attack.

Mr Whelan holds citizenship from Ireland, the US, Britain, and Canada, and Mr Lavrov said Russian Federation would allow consular visits.

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