On December 28th, Russian authorities detained American Paul Whelan. The charge appears to be spying. The move is largely seen as retribution for the US arrest and conviction of Russian national Maria Butina for espionage.
New Yorker editor and global affairs analyst David Rohde appeared on CNN Monday to discuss the ramifications of the Russian government's move. In addition to a response to Butina's arrest, Rohde pointed out that Russian President Vladimir Putin was sending a clear message to President Donald Trump for the New Year.
"The speculation is that this could be retaliation for the recent conviction of Maria Butina, she's the Russian national who infiltrated the NRA and other groups," Rohde said.
"This arrest could be a bargaining chip that this American has been arrested could maybe in the future be traded in for Butina," Rohde said.
"It's also a warning sign," he added. "Journalists in Moscow are saying that this could be a message that Putin is sending President Trump for the New Year, that Russia will be confrontational if needed."
"It's a clear sign that Putin is going to continue to be aggressive," Rohde said.