Russia arrests Frenchman suspected of collecting military intelligence

Russia on Thursday said it had detained a French citizen in Moscow suspected of gathering military information. He has been charged with violating foreign agent rules.

"This information, if obtained by foreign sources, could be used against the security of the state," Russia's official Tass news agency said.

The report was originaly posted on the website of the "Investigative Committee of Russia" (SKR), which works alongside the office of Russia's prosecutor general.

A 20-second video on the SKR website shows a man, his face blurred out, sitting at a table of what looks to be a bar or a restaurant.

Three masked men wearing black jackets branded with Russian flags on the shoulders grab him and guide him towards a minivan.

They are then shown entering a building. The camera shows a sign saying "SKR, Main Department, City of Moscow."

According to Tass, the unnamed suspect had failed "for several years" to register as a foreign agent.

It said he was carrying out a "targeted collection of information in the field of military and military-technical activities of the Russian Federation."

The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.

US-Russian journalist Alsu Kurmasheva was arrested on a similar charge last year before a more serious case of spreading "false information" about the army was levelled against her.

(with newswires)

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