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Belarus Detains Russian Accused of U.S. Election Meddling

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A Russian national indicted in the United States for meddling in the country’s 2016 presidential election was briefly detained in Belarus, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported Tuesday.

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller in 2018 charged 13 Russians and three companies for allegedly carrying out a sophisticated, years-long conspiracy to meddle in the 2016 U.S. election. Anna Bogacheva, identified as an Internet Research Agency (IRA) translator and data analyst, was one of the 13 indicted Russians.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday confirmed her detention. She was later released, Interfax cited the Russian embassy as saying.

Bogacheva was on vacation with her husband and child when she was detained, RIA Novosti cited an unnamed source as saying.

She was detained late Sunday at a hotel in the Belarussian capital of Minsk late at the request of the U.S., RIA Novosti cited the source as saying. Bogacheva reportedly contacted the Russian Consulate in Minsk after her detention.

The U.S. placed Bogacheva on two election-meddling sanctions lists last year for her ties to the IRA, commonly known as a Russian troll farm.

Mueller’s investigation into election meddling accused the IRA of setting up social media pages, stealing Americans’ identities and buying political ads. The U.S. probe also accused the IRA of staging rallies and working to “sow discord in the U.S. political system.”

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