Paul Whelan, the former US marine who was detained in Russia on accusations of espionage, is now known to actually hold four passports, and Russian authorities agreed to offer a meeting between him and a representative of any country in which he holds citizenship.
Whelan, 48, was detained in Moscow on Dec 28 on charges of being "on a spy mission" by the Russian Federal Security Service. A criminal investigation was opened against him on espionage charges carrying a punishment of up to 20 years in jail.
He holds the nationalities of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Ireland, Russian media reported.
Russia has received a request from the Canadian embassy to visit Whelan and a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Monday that they are ready to organize a meeting between Whelan and representatives of any state he is a citizen of.
"As we don't have a respective consular convention with Canada, our commitments to such visits are regulated by the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations," Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
She said on Monday that so far only US representatives have visited, although requests for such a meeting have been lodged by a number of other countries.
"As of now, only representatives from the United States have visited Paul Whelan upon a request. The US side has not contacted the Russian side on that matter any further," she said. "Other countries Paul Whelan has been confirmed to have citizenship have asked for permission to visit him."
US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman visited Whelan in a detention facility and expressed support for him, AP reported.
Whelan's brother, David said on Monday he hopes his brother will be visited later in the week. He said the family had been in touch with the other countries involved.
"The US Embassy has indicated it will continue to lead on consular efforts, since Paul entered Russia on a US passport," he said.