Russian authorities detain French man accused of gathering military intel

According to Russia's Investigative Committee, a French citizen, purportedly employed by the non-profit Swiss Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, was apprehended on suspicion of "collecting information in the field of military activities of the Russian Federation."


ANI | Updated: 07-06-2024 13:19 IST | Created: 07-06-2024 13:19 IST
Russian authorities detain French man accused of gathering military intel
A screengrab of a video released by the Russian Investigative Committee shows the man being arrested by security personnel at a cafe in Moscow. (Photo/Russian Investigative Committee). Image Credit: ANI
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A French national has been detained in Moscow, confirmed French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday, although he refuted any association between the individual and the French government, CNN reported. "In no way was he working for France. Now we are very vigilant, he will receive all the consular protections that apply in such a case. I want to say the truth in the face of the brainwashing that we hear," Macron stated.

According to Russian Investigative Committee, a French citizen, purportedly employed by the non-profit Swiss Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, was apprehended on suspicion of "collecting information in the field of military activities of the Russian Federation." Video footage released by the Investigative Committee depicted the man being apprehended by security personnel at a cafe in Moscow before being escorted into a military van.

The Investigative Committee alleges that the French national had been collecting intelligence on Russia's "military and military-technical activities" for several years without registering as a foreign agent, according to CNN. "For these purposes, he repeatedly visited the territory of Russia, including the city of Moscow, where he held meetings with citizens of the Russian Federation," the Investigative Committee asserted.

An official from the Investigative Committee informed Russian state news agency TASS that the individual worked as a consultant at the non-profit organisation handling Eurasian issues following the events in Ukraine in February 2014, including the mass pro-democracy protests in Kyiv and the ousting of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. Tensions between Russia and Western nations escalated when Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine over two years ago.

Amid the escalating tensions, several Westerners have found themselves detained in Russia. US-Russian journalist Alsu Kurmasheva was detained last year in the Russian city of Kazan while awaiting a return flight to the Czech Republic, where she was based. Accused of refusing to register as a foreign agent, Kurmasheva arrived in Russia in May due to an urgent family matter, according to her employer, the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

Russia broadened its law on "foreign agents" in 2022, signaling a heightened crackdown on free speech and opposition under Putin. Individuals or organizations receiving funding from abroad are now classified as foreign agents, as are those who have "received support and (or) is under foreign influence." In 2023, Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was arrested during a work trip and charged with espionage, allegations he and his employer vehemently refute. He remains in pre-trial detention, with his detention extended until June 30. If convicted, Gershkovich could face up to 20 years in prison, CNN reported. (ANI)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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