Russian national Butina, released from US jail, returns to hometown in Siberia

MOSCOW REGION, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 26, 2019: Russian citizen Maria Butina (C) is pictured at the Sheremetyevo International Airport upon arrival from the United States; Russian citizen Butina was arrested by the FBI in July 2018 in Washington DC, United States over suspected activity as an agent of Russia; in November 2018, Butina made a plea deal with the prosecution admitting to conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent and was sentenced in April 2019 to 18 months in prison; Butina was released from jail on 25 October 2019 and deported to Russia. Mikhail Japaridze/TASS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

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BARNAUL, Oct 29, 2019, TASS. Russian citizen Maria Butina, who was earlier released from a US prison, arrived to her home city of Barnaul in southern Siberia’s region of Altai on Tuesday together with her father Valery Butin, a TASS correspondent reported.

The plane with Butina on board, which took off from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, landed in Barnaul at 05:11 local time (01:11 Moscow time).

In the airport, Butina thanked journalists who congratulated her on the return to her homeland and, without giving any comments to the press, went to relatives and friends who gathered to meet her.

Her father, Valery Butin, told TASS in Moscow on Monday that his daughter planned to celebrate her birthday with the family on November 10.

“We would like to spend some time in the family circle [on her birthday],” he said. “I mean, we plan no special celebrations.”

Butin also said his daughter currently has no concrete plans for the future, but “if any proposals arise, they will be considered with pleasure.”

“It would be good if she makes the use of the knowledge she received prior to all those sad events. In fact, she has three university diplomas and vast experience in both political work and organizational efforts. She has a store of knowledge, and is looking forward to use it productively,” Butin added.

Butina, 30, was arrested in Washington on July 15, 2018, ahead of a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump in Helsinki. She was charged with conspiracy to act as a foreign agent in the United States. US intelligence services argued that the Russian citizen carried out this activity without being registered as an agent of a foreign state with the Department of Justice. On April 26, Butina was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Moscow stated that the charges had been trumped-up and demanded her release from custody. Butina’s sentence ended on Friday, October 25.

The plane carrying Russian citizen Maria Butina who was released from a US prison on Friday has landed at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport on October 26. Among those who met the Russian national was Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova and about 50 reporters.

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