- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

MOSCOW (AP) - Russia has accused the United States of having no evidence against three Russian citizens charged with spying, and says the Americans are using the charges for political purposes.

U.S. prosecutors said the defendants were directed by Russia to gather sensitive economic intelligence on potential U.S. sanctions against Russian banks and U.S. efforts to develop alternative energy resources.

One of the defendants, arrested Monday in New York, is officially employed by the Manhattan branch of Vnesheconombank, a Russian state bank that was hit by U.S. sanctions last year.

The other two defendants held diplomatic positions and are believed to have returned to Russia.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Tuesday that the United States has no evidence against them and “decided to launch another round in its anti-Russian campaign.”

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