Russia says U.S. spy ring allegations ‘baseless’



WASHINGTON — U.S. allegations that Russian spies have been working under cover in the U.S. for years are “baseless and improper,” Russia’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday, adding that their arrests are a throwback to the Cold War.

The ministry said in a statement that U.S. actions were unfounded and pursued “unseemly goals.” It voiced regret that the arrests came even though President Obama recently hailed a reset in ties between the former Cold War foes, and just days after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited Washington .

Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, also told reporters in Jerusalem that Moscow is awaiting an explanation from the U.S. and that it is studying the allegations, Interfax news agency reported.

“The subect was not explained to us. I hope they will explain,” Lavrov said.
Russia’s foreign intelligence service and the chief spokesman for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told Reuters they had no comment on the allegations.

The Justice Department announced Monday that 10 people had been arrested and face charges of spying for the Russian government. Allegedly the suspects were tasked with penetrating U.S. policymaking circles and hiding “all connections between themselves and Russia” by posing as civilians.

Most of the suspects were arrested on Sunday. An 11th suspect was arrested and released on bail in Cyprus on Tuesday, police said. Robert Christopher Metsos, 55, was detained at Larnaca airport as he tried to leave the island for Budapest.

‘Deep cover’
They have American names like Cynthia Murphy, but the U.S. says they are actually Russian secret agents whose “deep cover” stretched back 20 years and included scenes from a bad spy novel — including code words and document exchanges at public areas like New York’s Central Park


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