MFA calls Butina's detention by US "undisguised political order"
According to the Russian MIA’s spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, the detention of Russian woman Maria Butina in the US was specifically timed to coincide with the summit of Putin and Trump in order to minimize the effect of the presidents’ meeting.
The Russian embassy in Washington came into contact with the US authorities and is seeking a meeting with Maria Butina, a Russian woman detained in the US, "which they are obliged to arrange," Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova stated at a briefing on July 18.
She tied the detention of Butina in the US to the summit of the presidents of the United States and Russia in Helsinki. "Mention must be made that this occurred shortly after the Helsinki summit to minimize its effect," the Foreign Ministry’s official said at the briefing broadcast on the Foreign Ministry’s website.
"Instead of fulfilling its duties, the US Department of Justice is carrying out an undisguised political order," Zakharova added.
In her opinion, "the measure related to the arrest was chosen precisely to show how serious things are," to "stoke as much tension as possible without having any evidence base for this."
"If there were claims to the person, and this is not a matter of the national security scale, it is always possible to draw the attention of the Russian side to this," Zakharova said.
Butina was rounded up in Washington, D.C. on July 16. The US Ministry of Justice claimed that between 2015 and 2017 while going to a Washington University, the Russian citizen worked for a high-ranking official with the Russian government, who later became a member of the board of the Central Bank.
Later it became known that the indictment signed by the District Attorney of the District of Columbia, Jessie Liu, argues that Butina not only was involved in the conspiracy to work as a foreign agent, but also did act as a foreign agent at least since 2015. On this charge, Butina faces up to ten years in prison.