"By creating intolerable conditions and threatening [her] with a long prison term, our compatriot was literally forced to put her signature under absolutely ridiculous charges," she said.
Zakharova said the case against Butina was trumped up to prove Russia’s alleged interference in the US internal affairs.
"We are convinced that the criminal case against Maria Butina is merely a ploy by certain political forces in the US to spread anti-Russian rhetoric, Russophobia, and get something that would prove speculation of our country’s interference in US home affairs," she said.
Butina pleaded guilty last Thursday in front of a US federal judge to one count of conspiracy to act as a foreign agent. Initial charges against her carried a prison sentenced of up to 15 years. The next hearing is set for February. She may be sentenced to five years and eventually deported to Russia.