Russian national Maria Butina, who remains in custody in the United States, told US journalist James Bamford that her publicity was the best proof of her non-involvement in spying activities, which she is suspected of
MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 12th February, 2019) Russian national Maria Butina, who remains in custody in the United States, told US journalist James Bamford that her publicity was the best proof of her non-involvement in spying activities, which she is suspected of.
Bamford had several conversations with Butina for his article "The Spy Who Wasn't" for The New Republic Magazine. He shared some of the records with the ABC broadcaster.
In his article, Bamford slammed both the case against Butina and the way the situation was covered in US media, claiming that the Russian national had become a "perfect scapegoat" for Washington, since it wanted to blame someone for Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election, which Russia has repeatedly denied.
Butina was arrested in Washington in mid-July last year on suspicion of working as a foreign agent for the Russian government. The young woman initially denied the charges, but in December 2018, she agreed to cooperate with the prosecution and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to act as a foreign agent. The Russian national now faces up to five years in prison, instead of the initial 15.
Commenting on Butina's case, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he did not see any reason for the United States to bring charges against her, arguing that the woman was not charged with any mission by the Russian government. The Russian Foreign Ministry, in turn, said that the United States had browbeaten Butina into confessing the crime she had not committed by creating unbearable detention conditions and threatening her with a long prison sentence.