Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has accused a Ukrainian journalist detained in Moscow of espionage.
The FSB called Roman Sushchenko “an operative of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s intelligence office” in a statement to Interfax on Monday.
Sushchenko, 47, had been detained while allegedly spying on Russia’s armed forces and the recently formed National Guard. The leak of such information to foreign powers “could damage state defense capabilities,” the FSB said.
Zoya Svetova, a member of Moscow’s Social Monitoring Commission, told the RIA Novosti news agency that commission members had discovered Sushchenko in an isolation block of Moscow’s Lefortovo detention center.
Ukrinform, the Ukrainian news agency which has employed Sushchenko since 2002, has condemned his detention as a “planned provocation” in a statement on its website, saying that Sushchenko had been in Moscow on personal business.
The statement went on to say that Sushchenko had been detained "in violation of all international rules" without notifying his employer or his wife.
A spokeswoman for Moscow's Lefortovskiy court told Interfax on Monday that Sushchenko had been arrested on Saturday, and would be detained for two months.
Sushchenko's lawyer, Mark Feygin, wrote in a statement that his client "had only worked in journalism" and that he would appeal his arrest. He also called on Russian journalists to help "their Ukrainian colleague."