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Russia: US spy suspect can be visited by other countries

January 7, 2019
FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Whelan family shows Paul Whelan in Iceland. Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov on Saturday Jan. 5, 2019, is brushing back suggestions that an American being held in Moscow on suspicion of spying could be exchanged for a Russian. Paul Whelan, who also holds Canadian, British and Irish citizenship was detained in late December. (Courtesy of the Whelan Family via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian Foreign Ministry says Paul Whelan, the American detained in Moscow on suspicion of spying, may receive visits from diplomats from the three other countries whose citizenship he holds.

When Whelan was arrested in late December, he was identified only as an American. Last week, it emerged that he also holds British, Irish and Canadian citizenship. U.S. Ambassador Jon Hunstman Jr. visited him in prison last week.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the state news agency RIA-Novosti that the other countries have applied for consular visits and “if the arrestee confirms that he wants these visits they will be arranged.”

Whelan’s twin brother David said Monday that “the U.S. Embassy has indicated it will continue to lead on consular efforts, since Paul entered Russia on a U.S. passport.”

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