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Cyprus court to consider US extradition request for alleged Russian spy

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Cyprus court to consider US extradition request for alleged Russian spy

Cyprus Russian spy

A trial court in Cyprus will conclude a hearing on a US request to extradite a Russian-German national accused of espionage.

At the request of the US, Arthur Petrov was arrested by Cyprus authorities on August 26. American prosecutors accuse him of smuggling microelectronics technology for Russia’s use in its war with Ukraine. They allege that Petrov and two co-conspirators used shell companies to fraudulently procure the parts from American distributors to avoid US export controls. The US has petitioned for his extradition with the Larnaca District Court.

The case against Arthur Petrov comes at a historic low in US-Russia relations, with both countries accusing the other of conducting espionage. Although Cyprus is not a NATO member-state, the country has largely supported the West in opposing Russia; therefore, expect extradition to be approved and Petrov to be prosecuted in US federal court.

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In the short to medium term, expect both Russia and the US to continue to prosecute alleged spies, leading to a further souring of diplomatic relations. With Russia’s illiberal judiciary, this is also likely to result in detentions of Americans for purely political reasons, as is the case, for example, with journalist Evan Gershkovich, detained on spurious espionage charges since March.

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