- I felt like a messiah in relation to Russia, imagined that I was going to free it from a repressive government, so I was flattered when they turned to me, - reports Debbins words to The Washington Post.
The American, in a written statement read out by the prosecutor at the trial, also added that he was "worried about what they might do to my wife's family".
US Assistant Attorney Thomas Traxler said Debbins admitted to passing classified information to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). He had access to classified and top-secret information. The American prosecutor's office believes that Debbins collaborated with the Russian Federation in the period from 1996 to 2011 and transmitted information about the deployment of his unit in South Korea, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
The prosecution insists on the version that Russian intelligence first approached Debbins when he was a 19-year-old student at the University of Minnesota and a member of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps. He studied in Chelyabinsk. There he also met his future wife - the daughter of a colonel of the Russian Air Force. According to the prosecutor's office, he was later given the code name Ikar Lesnikov. The Times reported that Debbins became “embittered” after completing his military service.
The arrest of Debbins became known on August 21, 2020 from the corresponding release distributed by the US Department of Justice.
Now the American faces life imprisonment.