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Moscow pledges aid to Russians facing espionage charges in U.S.

RIA Novosti

17:21 01/07/2010

MOSCOW, July 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russian foreign service officials are ready to provide any assistance to Russian nationals suspected of spying in the United States, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

"If such assistance is necessary, we will of course provide it in full," Andrei Nesterenko said, adding that Russia needed complete information about "what exactly happened."

Ten people were arrested in the United States Sunday on suspicion of being part of a Russian espionage ring. An 11th suspect was detained on Tuesday in Cyprus, but reports on Wednesday said police on the island were looking for him after he apparently skipped bail.

Moscow said on Tuesday that members of the spy ring were Russians, but denied they had acted against the U.S.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said they were "Russian citizens who found themselves on U.S. territory at different times."

It said Moscow hoped they would be "well treated while in custody" and that U.S. authorities would grant Russian lawyers and diplomatic officials access to them.

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