October 15, 2019 / 12:56 PM / 2 months ago

Belarus briefly detains Russian accused of U.S. election meddling

MINSK (Reuters) - Belarus briefly detained a Russian national accused by Washington of taking part in Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Belarus’s interior ministry said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller references a copy of his report as he testifies before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Office of Special Counsel's investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 24, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

Anna Bogachyova was detained at a hotel in the capital Minsk and later released, it said in a statement.

Her arrest had been requested by the United States, Russian state news agency RIA said, citing an unnamed source familiar with the situation. Belarus is a close ally of Russia.

Following her release, the Belarusian prosecutor general’s office said it was considering removing her name from the country’s list of internationally wanted people.

The United States has said Bogachyova worked briefly for Internet Research Agency (IRA) in 2014, which has been referred to as a Russian “troll factory”.

Her name appeared in a report by former U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who investigated Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election campaign.

According to the report, which was released in March, Bogachyova and her colleague travelled to the United States in 2014 as IRA employees for an “intelligence-gathering mission”.

She was one of several Russians sanctioned by the United States last year for malicious cyber activity.

Bogachyova did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Russia has denied allegations of meddling in the U.S. election.

Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Tom Balmforth and Maria Tsvetkova; Editing by Jon Boyle and David Clarke

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