A man who says he is the brother of U.S. citizen Paul Whelan — who was arrested in Moscow last week on suspicion of spying — is proclaiming his brother’s innocence and providing more detail to an opaque case. On Tuesday, David Whelan tweeted a family statement, saying Paul Whelan was in Moscow to attend a wedding and that the family grew concerned after not hearing from the retired U.S. Marine on Friday, “which was very much out of character for him even when he was traveling.”
Russia’s domestic security service, the FSB, has detained a US citizen accused of spying, it announced on Monday. The FSB, the successor of the Soviet-era KGB, said in a statement that the American was arrested on Friday “while carrying out an act of espionage”. News of the detention comes on the day after Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, expressed a desire for better relations with the US in 2019. Russia has sought to improve relations with the west after a year in which diplomacy was at its frostiest since the cold war.
Russia announced on Monday that it built barracks for troops on a chain of disputed islands near Japan. Both Moscow and Tokyo claim sovereignty over the islands which were seized by Soviet forces at the end of WWII. Japan will increase military power over the next five years in order to counter Russia and China.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned it plans to build missiles banned under a Cold War agreement if the US breaks the deal. Putin’s statement came after NATO accused Russia of having already violated the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed in 1987. Putin claims many other countries already developed weapons banned under the pact.
Following a naval clash between Russia and Ukraine over the weekend, President canceled a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump’s decision also followed his longtime personal lawyer’s guilty plea to lying to Congress about developments in Russia. The meeting was set to take place in two days at the G20 summit.
The head of Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency, General Igor Korobov, has died aged 62, Russia’s defense ministry says. The GRU was this year linked to a nerve agent attack in Britain on Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Gen Korobov is understood to have faced criticism by Russian officials over the failure of the operation. Gen Korobov is said to have died after “a serious and long illness” on Wednesday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday that Russia will target any EU countries that host US nuclear missiles after the US decision to withdraw from the arms control treaty. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) halted plans by US-based startup OneWeb to bring internet access to rural and remote parts of Russia.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Tuesday there is no chance the US will remain a part of the nuclear weapons treaty. Bolton met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and renewed accusations that Russia violated the treaty. Bolton said reconsideration is possible only if Russia and China give up their intermediate-range missiles.
Following President Trump’s announcement on Saturday of plans to leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF), the US faces criticism from Russian officials. US National Security Adviser John Bolton will begin two days of talks in Moscow on Monday following the announcement. Trump claims that ‘Russia has violated the agreement.’ Russia denies such claims.
Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed new missiles in Russia’s military arsenals and asserted nuclear weapons would be used in response to an incoming missile attack on the country. Putin said an attack would only be launched if early warning systems spotted missiles and said aggressors ‘should know that retaliation is inevitable.’ Putin claimed Russia’s new hypersonic missiles give the country a military edge.