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Accused Russian agent suspected of "Kremlin Spy Recruiter"



Maria Butina, the Russian woman accused of acting as a Kremlin agent on US soil, met with a high-ranking Russian official suspected of recruiting American spies, reports Politico. Federal prosecutors had stated in court that Butina was acting under the leadership of a prominent Kremlin-affiliated official, but his identity was unknown. A source familiar with the investigation, Politico said the officer was Oleg Zhanganov, director of the Russian Cultural Center in D.C., a part of the Russian Foreign Ministry that has long been investigated by US counterintelligence officers. Butina's meeting with Zhiganov was reportedly closely monitored by federal agents, though the subject of their discussion remains unclear. Butinas defender Robert Driscoll confirmed the meeting with Politico, but doubted the authorities' allegations that Zhang Shiganov was a Russian spy. "A Russian international who dines with a Russian citizen is nothing special," he was quoted as saying.


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