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Russia Foreign Ministry Grants Alleged U.S. Spy Access To Other Diplomats

A general view shows the pretrial detention center Lefortovo, where former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan is reportedly being held in custody in Moscow, January 3, 2019

The Russian Foreign Ministry says the American man arrested in Moscow on espionage charges may receive visits from diplomats from the three other countries where he holds citizenship.

Paul Whelan was identified initially as an American citizen when he was arrested late last month.

Last week, however, news reports revealed that he also held Canadian, British, and Irish citizenship.

Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova was quoted by the RIA-Novosti news agency on January 7 as saying that the other countries have applied for consular visits.

"If the arrestee confirms that he wants these visits they will be arranged," she was quoted as saying.

Whelan's brother, David, said on January 7 that "the U.S. Embassy has indicated it will continue to lead on consular efforts, since Paul entered Russia on a U.S. passport."

U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman visited Whelan in his Moscow prison last week.

With reporting by AP