Anatoly Gorlov, the husband of a Russian woman detained for espionage, said he was called in for questioning, the Associated Press reported on Monday. His wife, Svetlana Davydova, was detained on Jan. 21 by the Federal Security Service (FSB) nine months after she called the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow with information about Russian soldiers on their way to support separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Davydova, 36, is a mother of seven and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of espionage. Her husband, Anatoly Gorlov, said he was called in for questioning by the FSB but did not specify the details of his questioning. He said Davydova was involved in the Communist Party and was an environmental activists, according to Reuters.
The couple lived in Vyazma, about 135 miles southwest of Moscow. Davydova reportedly called the Ukrainian embassy after she overheard two Russian soldiers talk about a group of fellow soldiers who were sent to Ukraine and told to wear civilian soldiers, presumably to pass off as pro-Russian separatists there. Gorlav said she also told the embassy that a nearby military base had mobilized troops and sent them out into the field, possibly suggesting that they were headed towards the Ukrainian border about 200 miles south of Vyazma.
The United States and its NATO allies has repeatedly accused Russia of sending in troops to Ukraine as “volunteers” who are acting independently of Russian military orders, although the order to go Ukraine in April that Davydova claims she heard would be one of the earliest allegations of a false invasion against Russia. Russia denies any involvement in the conflict in neighboring Ukraine.
“She possibly might have considered that by calling the Ukrainian embassy, fewer people would die,” Gorlav said, according to Reuters. “I know she was not led by any harmful intentions.”
Over 22,000 people signed a petition urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to let Davydova to return home to take care of her seven children, one of whom she was breast-feeding before her detention, according to Radio Free Europe. The petition was posted on the website of the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta. Opposition political leaders have staged protests in support of Davydova as well.