Russia Denies Trying to Recruit Americans as Spies

Allegations showing up in media reports


Russia angrily denied U.S. media reports that the Russian director of a cultural exchange programme may be recruiting Americans as spies, saying such allegations risked damaging ties between the two countries.

Media outlets including Mother Jones magazine said the Federal Bureau of Investigation was interviewing Americans who participated in an exchange programme directed by Yuri Zaitsev, who heads the Russian Centre for Science and Culture in Washington.

Law enforcement officials said the FBI was investigating whether Zaitsev and Rossotrudnichestvo, the government agency responsible for the programme, had used trips to Russia to recruit Americans, the Washington Post reported.