Russia stands ready to help nationals accused of spying in U.S.

09:49, July 02, 2010      

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Foreign service officials stand ready to provide assistance to Russian nationals accused of spying in the United States, the RIA Novosti news agency reported Thursday.

"If such an assistance is necessary, we will, of course, provide it in full," Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said, adding that Russia needed complete information about "what exactly happened."

Ten people were arrested in the United States on Sunday on charges of being part of a Russian espionage ring.

An eleventh suspect was detained Tuesday in Cyprus and let on bail but it was reported later that he apparently went missing.

Moscow said Tuesday that members of the suspected spy ring were Russians, but denied they had acted against U.S. interests.

Also on Thursday, Russian Children's Ombudsman, Pavel Astakhov, said that putting the children of the suspected spies under state care was an extreme measure.

Among the accused, there are four married couples with children.

Child protection agencies in several U.S. states are to decide if they can allow relatives of the suspects to care for the children during the investigation.

"By law, priority is given to close relatives and friends in situations like this. But if this is impossible, the children are placed under state care as a last resort," Astakhov said. "I hope the interests of the children will be taken into account when the court makes its decision."

With the will to reset their relations, both the United States and Russia are trying to keep the spy row from escalating into a diplomatic meltdown.

Source: Xinhua


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