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Minsk Releases Russian Woman Suspected Of Involvement In U.S. Election Meddling

Anna Bogachyova was allegedly involved in Moscow's reported meddling in the U.S. presidential election in 2016. (file photo)

Russia says Belarusian authorities have detained and then released Anna Bogachyova, who was allegedly involved in Moscow's reported meddling in the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

The Russian Embassy in Minsk said on October 15 that the Russian national was released from custody after being detained in the Belarusian capital, according to Interfax.

Russia's Foreign Ministry confirmed on Facebook that she was being held, adding that Russian diplomats in Belarus are following Bogachyova's situation and providing her with all necessary support.

Earlier in the day, Russia's state-operated news agency Ria Novosti quoted a source "familiar with the situation" as saying that Bogachyova had been detained "on the United States' request" in a hotel in the Belarusian capital at around 10 p.m. on October 13.

"Her husband and their little child were with her as they were on their way for a holiday," RIA Novosti quoted its source as saying.

Bogachyova, a data analyst and translator, is an employee of the Internet Research Agency (IRA), which, according to U.S. experts, is owned by the Kremlin-connected businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, sometimes referred to as "Putin's Chef."

The IRA, a St. Petersburg-based organization known for being a Russian "troll farm," was mentioned repeatedly by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation into Russian election interference.

Washington has imposed sanctions on several entities and people associated with the IRA, including Prigozhin, for its actions. It had placed Bogachyova on two sanctions lists last year for her ties to the IRA.

Bogachyova, also known under the name Anna Trigga, was an active member of the Russky Obraz (Russian Way) ultranationalist group.

Local media have reported that she was forced to work for IRA by the Federal Security Service (FSB) because of her ties to the group.

With reporting by RIA Novosti
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