Arrest: FBI arrests Russians on suspicion of illegal arms shipments

On December 28, American Paul Whelan was arrested in Moscow. Now it is announced: One day later, the FBI arrested a Russian, who is wanted by warrant in the US. A return coach?

The FBI has arrested a Russian citizen in the Northern Mariana Islands, an area outside the United States in the Pacific. A court in Florida accused Dmitrii Makarenko in 2017. He is accused of money laundering and conspiracy to illegally deliver military items to Russia. In June, a Florida court issued an arrest warrant for the man.

Together with an accomplice, Vladimir Nevidomy, in 2013 Makarenko is said to have tried, among other things, to export night vision equipment, thermal imaging cameras and detonators from the US to Russia - without the requisite approval of the US State Department. Nevidomy was made the process. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 26 months in prison.

Makarenko was arrested by the FBI on 29 December when he arrived on the Pacific island of Saipan. According to "Saipan Tribune", the man is said to have last lived in Vladivostok. The purpose of the trip is unclear. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the wanted man and his family are said to have landed in Saipan. The details of his age vary widely: While the media in the Northern Mariana Islands is talking about a 72-year-old man, the Foreign Ministry in Moscow states that Makarenko was born in 1979.

Russia accuses the US authorities of never formally informing Moscow about the arrest. They also denied the detainee access to Russian embassy staff in the United States. He should have been granted Makarenko by 2 January at the latest.

Meanwhile, the FBI has transferred the man to Florida.

Makarenko's arrest is in the midst of the dispute over US citizen Paul Whelan. He was arrested on December 28 in Moscow. Russia has charged the 48-year-old, who also has British, Irish and Canadian nationality, with espionage. He faces up to 20 years imprisonment.

It is speculated that Whelan will be used as a pledge to exchange him for Marina Butina. The Russian student is in court in Washington. It is said to have tried on behalf of Russian authorities to influence political organizations in the United States.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Saturday that it was too early to think about a prisoner exchange.