Russia’s Security Service detained Whelan who holds British, Canadian, and Irish passports on December 28, 2018.
“His family say he is innocent and that he was in Moscow to attend a wedding. Whelan faces up to 20 years in jail if found guilty of espionage,” the news agency reads.
As Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, said “he was caught red-handed.”
“He was detained at the moment he was carrying out specific illegal actions in his hotel,” Lavrov added.
Russian Foreign Minister stated that the investigation on the case of former U.S. marine continues and his arrest was not motivated by an attempt to exchange him for Russians held in the U.S.
“He said Russia would allow U.S. diplomats to visit Whelan for a second time and that an Irish diplomat was also due to meet him soon,” the message says.