Tensions between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and President Donald Trump’s United States are about to get even tenser.
After a Russian agent was arrested in the U.S. for spying, the Russians arrested an American on similar charges.
Paul Whelan was taken into Kremlin custody on Friday.
Tit for tat?
Several weeks ago, Maria Butina, a Russian citizen, was arrested for spying.
Soon after, she admitted that she had been gathering intelligence on U.S. officials.
She did this by using contacts she had made through the NRA and the National Prayer Breakfast.
Butina said she had organized events, putting American and Russian officials together.
The purpose of these meetings was to set up backchannels of communication for these officials.
Her attorney, however, says the charges were completely “overblown.”
Driscoll, who is Butina’s attorney, said she was only networking and merely interested in creating more positive relationships between the two countries.
In addition to her arrest, there is (of course) the Mueller investigation, which has had Russia on edge from the very beginning.
The arrest of Paul Whelan was no doubt the Russian’s response to all of these events.
Whelan, as reported by the BBC, was taken into custody “during an act of espionage.”
No other details of his arrest were released, so American authorities are still in the dark about what he did exactly.
If Whelan is convicted, he could be sentenced to as many as 20 years in prison.