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August 16, 2018

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US silent on whether envoys discussed suspected Russia agent

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Associated Press

Maria Butina, leader of a pro-gun organization in Russia, speaks to a crowd during a 2013 rally in support of legalizing the possession of handguns in Moscow, Russia. Butina, a 29-year-old gun-rights activist, served as a covert Russian agent while living in Washington, gathering intelligence on American officials and political organizations and working to establish back-channel lines of communications for the Kremlin, federal prosecutors charged Monday, July 16, 2018.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. version of what the top American and Russian diplomats discussed in their most recent telephone call makes no mention of the Russian woman arrested by American authorities and suspected of being a covert Kremlin agent — even though Moscow says her case came up in the conversation.

The State Department's description Sunday of the officials' call mentions "a broad range of issues," including Syria, counterterrorism, dialogue between U.S. and Russian businesses and "diplomatic access."

But Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Saturday that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (sir-GAY' lahv-RAWF') had complained in the call to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (pahm-PAY'-oh) about the arrest of Maria Butina on "fabricated charges" and spoke about "the need for her early release."