US forced false confession from 'Russian agent', Kremlin claims
Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the United States of forcing Russian national Maria Butina to falsely confess to what it described as the ridiculous charge of her being a Russian agent.
Butina (30) had pleaded guilty in a US court to a single conspiracy charge in a deal with prosecutors.
The Siberian admitted working with a top Russian official to infiltrate a US gun rights group and to making inroads with conservative activists and politicians as an agent for Moscow.
A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry said Butina had been coerced into making a false confession.
"Having created unbearable conditions for her and threatening her with a long jail sentence, she was literally forced to sign up to absolutely ridiculous charges," she said.