The state-run Russian media service TASS has reported that an American was detained on December 28, under suspicion of spying.
The Russian Federal Security Service arrested him, providing few details beyond his name and that he was detained in the process of violating their espionage laws.
“On December 28, 2018 staff members of the Russian Federal Security Service detained US citizen Paul Whelan in Moscow while on a spy mission,” the center said.TASS
The FSB spokesman said that he is still being investigated, but faces 10 to 20 years in prison in relation to the current charges.
This takes place shortly following the change in plea by Russian spy Maria Butina, and amidst continued efforts to increase sanctions against Russia for material aid to North Korea, aggression in Crimea and actions to undermine US elections.
Yesterday, Putin publicly informed Trump that he was ready to have talks on an extensive agenda. It is reasonable to believe that Putin was aware of the impending arrest prior to the statement being made.