16 May 2023 21:43

Washington condemns arrest of former employee of U.S. diplomatic mission in Vladivostok - State Dept

WASHINGTON. May 16 (Interfax) - The United States Department of State on Tuesday condemned the arrest of Robert Shonov, a former employee of the U.S. consulate in Vladivostok, describing the charges brought against him as unfounded.

"The United States strongly condemns the reported arrest of Robert Shonov, a former employee of U.S. Mission Russia. The allegations against Mr. Shonov are wholly without merit," U.S. Department of State spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.

In Russia, Shonov was charged with "confidential cooperation" with a foreign country, the statement said.

In 2021, Shonov was employed by a company contracted to provide services to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow "in strict compliance with Russia's laws and regulations," the statement said.

"Mr. Shonov's only role at the time of his arrest was to compile media summaries of press items from publicly available Russian media sources," it said.

On Monday, Russian media outlets said that Shonov was arrested in Vladivostok with the support of the FSB. He was charged with confidential cooperation with a foreign state or an international or foreign organization.