The Russian intelligence agency, FSB, says it has foiled an attempt by American CIA agents to steal Russian military secrets. An FSB spokesman is quoted as saying the agency has "irrefutable evidence of CIA spying activities" in Russia.
The FSB says American agents posing as diplomats in Moscow and in one other, unnamed, former Soviet republic, tried to obtain confidential information on weapons technology and on Russia's military cooperation with countries belonging to the Commonweath of Independent States. A grouping made up of most of the former Soviet republics.
The FSB named two alleged participants in the spy plot including a junior diplomat in the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The diplomat is alleged to have headed the operation and is said to have already left the country.
The American embassy has not commented on the accusations nor has it confirmed the identity of the diplomat in question.
The FSB said it was able to foil the CIA plot and thus prevent any serious security damage.
Russia and the United States have traded spying accusations in the not too distant past. Just over a year ago, the United States expelled 50 Russian diplomats on suspicion of spying and Russia responded with a tit-for-tat expulsion of American diplomats.
These latest accusations from the FSB come just over a month before U.S. President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin are to hold a summit here in Moscow and in St. Petersburg.