Russia denies sending high-tech spies to US

Oct 04, 2012 by Dmitry Zaks

Russian diplomats and security chiefs denied Thursday sending their spies to the United States to purchase high-tech military electronics and detonators in faked civilian deals.

The United State on Wednesday disclosed the details about an 11-member spy ring from ex-Soviet nations that allegedly used doctored documents to procure pieces of equipment too advanced for the Russian state.

The arrests were a feather in the cap of the US that irritated the Russians and notched another rung lower in relations that have suffered since before 's return to an historic third term as president in May.

Russia has already halted the work of a top US State Department agency responsible for political outreach for its work on behalf of those who organised record rallies against Putin's return.

Putin has also pushed through a law branding political organisations that receive funds from other countries with the loaded term "foreign agents" that to most Russians implies the word spy.

But officials in Moscow were keen Thursday to stress that what they had on their hands this week was not a new spy row but a basic whose details the Russians were still trying to grasp.

"The charges shown to us by the US side are of a criminal nature and do not involve possible intelligence work," said Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

His comments were echoed a few hours later by the powerful director of the FSB security services that inherited most of the functions of the Soviet-era KGB.

FSB boss and close Putin ally Alexander Bortnikov noted all he could say with any degree of certainty was that these seemed to be ex-Russian nationals who were now living somewhere abroad.

But his tongue appeared to have slipped briefly because he also became the lone Russian official to—incorrectly—say that the group had been charged with espionage work.

US authorities filed to get the men into detention before pressing on with what appears to be a complicated and multi-layered case.

"I issued orders to services responsible for that sort of thing to start gathering information about those detained in the United States for espionage," the state RIA Novosti news agency quoted Bortnikov as saying.

"It would be good to get to the bottom of what really happened," he remarked.

What the US authorities suspect in public is that the group faked papers to ship out parts and pieces the would dearly love to keep away from a country building new nuclear reactors for Iran.

The entire operation was allegedly run between 2008 and the present by a Texas-based company called Arc Electronics.

Its Russian-US defendant Alexander Fishenko is being charged under military export laws and accused of being an "unregistered agent of the Russian government."

The traditional note of anger was still present in Russian statements Thursday that questioned why Moscow appeared to have been one of the last to hear about the case.

"Serious questions arise over the fact that the US authorities did not notify Russia's consulate offices about... our compatriots' arrest," foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters.

And Ryabkov raised "serious concerns" because "much in this story is not clear."

Russia's recent anger at Washington has spilled across US party politics and now also covers the presidential campaign of the more Kremlin-cautious Mitt Romney.

The Republican Party hopeful has recently vowed to show "more backbone" with Moscow after calling Russia his country's top "geopolitical foe."

Putin last month dismissed Romney's remarks as posturing commonly assumed during close election campaigns.

Explore further: Napster co-founder to invest on allergy research

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Russia denies plans to ban Gmail, Skype

Apr 09, 2011

The Russian security service denied Saturday it had plans to ban Skype and Gmail after one of its top officials said such services posed a serious security risk.

US charges 11 in Russian military exports ring (Update)

Oct 03, 2012

The United States announced criminal charges Wednesday against 11 members of an alleged ring illegally exporting $50 million worth of high-tech military electronics to Russia under the guise of civilian deals.

Russian security service 'wants to ban Skype, Gmail'

Apr 08, 2011

The Russian security service is proposing to ban Skype, Hotmail, and Gmail as their "uncontrolled use" may threaten Russia's security, a service official said during a government meeting on Friday.

Putin visits site of Russia's new launch center

Aug 28, 2010

(AP) -- Russia will launch its manned space missions from a new center in the Far East in 2018, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Saturday, as the country seeks greater independence for its space program.

Recommended for you

Napster co-founder to invest in allergy research

13 hours ago

(AP)—Napster co-founder Sean Parker missed most of his final year in high school and has ended up in the emergency room countless times because of his deadly allergy to nuts, shellfish and other foods.

LA mayor plans 7,000 police body cameras in 2015

Dec 16, 2014

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a plan Tuesday to equip 7,000 Los Angeles police officers with on-body cameras by next summer, making LA's police department the nation's largest law enforcement agency to move ...

Merriam-Webster names 'culture' word of the year

Dec 15, 2014

A nation, a workplace, an ethnicity, a passion, an outsized personality. The people who comprise these things, who fawn or rail against them, are behind Merriam-Webster's 2014 word of the year: culture.

In Curiosity Hacked, children learn to make, not buy

Dec 14, 2014

With her right hand, my 8-year-old daughter, Kalian, presses the red-hot soldering iron against the circuit board. With her left hand, she guides a thin, tin wire until it's pressing against both the circuit board and the ...

Top pilot sees risk in unregulated US drones

Dec 10, 2014

Small drones pose a danger in US skies so long as clear rules governing their operation are not in place, the head of the world's biggest pilots' union said Wednesday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.