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Moscow slams US over arrest of alleged Russian hacker
[MOSCOW] Moscow on Thursday accused Washington of hunting its citizens and vowed to fight extradition of a Russian arrested in Prague on suspicion of staging cyber attacks on the United States.
Czech police said Wednesday that they had arrested a Russian citizen in collaboration with the FBI who was suspected of perpetrating cyber attacks on Washington.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told journalists the arrest was "the latest example of the US law enforcement authorities hunting Russian citizens around the world".
She confirmed for the first time that the name of the arrested man is Yevgeny Nikulin, as had been reported earlier by Russian media.
Ms Zakharova said the "foreign ministry and the Russian embassy in Prague are working actively with the Czech authorities to prevent the extradition of a Russian citizen to the US".
Russia is providing the necessary consular and legal support and the arrested man has a lawyer, she said.
"Naturally we will follow this situation," she added.
The arrest came after Washington formally accused the Russian government earlier this month of trying to "interfere" in the 2016 White House race by hacking, charges the Kremlin has repeatedly dismissed.
Czech police did not say whether the arrest was linked to these claims, however, while the White House said that it could not provide details due to the ongoing investigation.
Ms Zakharova accused the US of "departing from normal cooperation between law enforcement agencies".
This "once again proves the political motivation of the claims against Russia and Russian citizens," she said.
Hillary Clinton's campaign blames Russia for an embarrassing leak of emails from the Democratic National Committee.
Russia has been accused of favouring Republican candidate Donald Trump - who has praised President Vladimir Putin and called for better ties with Moscow.
President Vladimir Putin on Sunday dismissed the US claims as a ploy to "distract" its voters from domestic problems.
The Russian leader spoke after US Vice President Joe Biden told NBC television that Mr Putin would receive a "message" over the alleged hacking.
Russia's relations with the United States have fallen to a post-Cold War nadir over the conflict in Ukraine and stalled efforts to end the five-year Syrian war.