January 2, 2019 / 12:23 PM / 6 months ago

U.S. demands Russia explain ex-Marine's detention on spy charges

BRASILIA (Reuters) - The United States wants an explanation of why Russia detained a retired U.S. Marine on spying charges in Moscow and will demand his immediate return if it determines his detention is inappropriate, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday.

Speaking in Brasilia the day after Brazil’s new president Jair Bolsonaro was inaugurated, Pompeo said the U.S. government hoped to gain consular access to Paul Whelan within the next few hours following his arrest in Moscow.

(This story has been refilled to correct first paragraph to reflect demand for retired Marine’s return is conditioned on Russia’s explanation)

Reporting by Mary Milliken; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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