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US envoy says Russia's conviction of ex-U.S. marine threatens ties: Ifax

Reuters , Monday 15 Jun 2020
John Sullivan
U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan takes off his protective face mask outside the verdict hearing of former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who was detained and accused of espionage, in Moscow, Russia June 15, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
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U.S. ambassador to Russia John Sullivan said on Monday that Russia's sentencing of former U.S. marine Paul Whelan to 16 years in jail for spying would harm relations between Moscow and Washington, the Interfax news agency reported.

Whelan's lawyer said after the verdict that his client had been told he would be part of a prisoner swap with a Russian national held in the United States, something the Russian Foreign Ministry said it had proposed on many occasions.

A Russian court found Whelan guilty of spying for the United States earlier on Monday and sentenced him to 16 years in jail after a closed trial which U.S. diplomats said was unfair and opaque.

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