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Moscow Calls On U.S. To Distance Itself From Spy Reports

Yury Zaitsev (left), head of the Russian Science and Culture Center
Russia has called on the United States to distance itself from the U.S. media reports on alleged espionage by the Russian Science and Culture Center (Rossotrudnichestvo) in Washington.

In a statement issued on October 24, Russian Foreign Ministry called the media reports "unfriendly" and aimed at "deteriorating the Russian-U.S. humanitarian cooperation."

On October 23, the "Mother Jones" magazine reported that the FBI was investigating Rossotrudnichestvo and its leader Yury Zaitsev for trying to lure young Americans into being agents for Russia.

Since 2001, the Rossotrudnichestvo program has sent about 130 Americans on expenses-paid trips to Russia.

Participants met with senior members of the ruling United Russia party, including the mayor of Moscow and the governor of St. Petersburg.

Zaitsev called the allegations "insulting" and sounded like "echoes of the Cold War."
Based on reporting by Interfax and ITAR-TASS