The Kremlin says the arrests of 10 alleged spies working for Moscow in the US are "full of contradictions." The FBI said Monday it had been secretly monitoring the agents for over a decade.
The suspects were arrested on Monday
Russia's foreign ministry said on Tuesday that it was examining the allegations against 10 individuals who were arrested in the United States on charges of spying.
"We are studying the information," foreign ministry spokesman Igor Lyakin-Frolov said.
He added that "there are a lot of contradictions" but declined to comment further.
Russian news agencies quoted Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying he "expected clarification" from the US over the surprise arrests.
Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and the office of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin refused to comment on the matter at all.
The suspected spies were in a New York state court for a hearing later in the day
US officials said late on Monday that they had cracked open a massive alleged spy ring, announcing the arrest of 10 "deep-cover" suspects after unraveling a mission secretly monitored by the FBI for more than a decade.
According to court papers unsealed on Monday, the FBI intercepted a message from SVR headquarters in Moscow to two of the defendants, describing their main mission as "to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in US."
Intercepted messages showed they were asked to learn about topics including nuclear weapons, US arms control positions, Iran, White House rumors, CIA leadership turnover, the last presidential election, the Congress and political parties.
The defendants face up to five years in prison if convicted of charges of conspiracy and 20 years if found guilty on money laundering charges.
Author: Gabriel Borrud (AFP/Reuters)
Editor: Chuck Penfold