Ex-US marine Paul Whelan has been sentenced to 16 years of hard labour on spying charges in Russia.

He was arrested in a hotel room in Moscow 18 months ago with a USB flash drive which security officers say contained state secrets.

The Moscow City Court found him guilty of receiving classified information.

Whelan – who is also a citizen of the UK, Canada and Ireland – denounced the closed trial as a “sham” ahead of the verdict.

The US ambassador to Moscow, John Sullivan, condemned the trial as unfair and lacking transparency, and said the conviction would harm Russia-US relations.

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