Russia has expelled an American diplomat who it accuses of secretly attempting to recruit Russians to work for the CIA.
Ryan Fogle worked as third secretary to the American embassy in Moscow but will now be sent back home to the US after allegedly being caught in the act.
In scenes that even Russia's foreign ministry described as being more suited to the Cold War, Mr Fogle was disguised in a wig and carrying a wad of cash when he was detained.
ITV News' Washington Correspondent Robert Moore reports:
Russia's Federal Security Service said Fogle had been detained overnight carrying "special technical equipment", a disguise, and a large sum of money in cash.
Russian television showed grainy footage of a man identified as Fogle being arrested and pinned to the ground.
A report on the state-run TV channel Russia Today included photographs that appeared to show two wigs, several pairs of dark sunglasses, a knife and compass among other his possessions.
The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned US Ambassador Michael McFaul to discuss the case and released a statement ordering Fogle to leave Russia:
– russian foreign ministry statement
Such provocative actions in the spirit of the Cold War will by no means promote the strengthening of mutual trust.
The Russia Today report also included a photograph of a letter, allegedly carried by Mr Fogle, which appear to contain instructions for would be recruits.
An excerpt on the website reads:
This is a down-payment from someone who is very impressed with your professionalism and who would greatly appreciate your cooperation in the future. Your security means a lot to us. This is why we chose this way of contacting you. We will continue to make sure our correspondence remains safe and secret.
We are ready to offer you $100,000 to discuss your experience, expertise and cooperation. The reward may be much greater if you are willing to answer specific questions. In additin to that, we can offer up to $1 million a year for long-term cooperation ...
It goes on to describe how the recipient should open a Gmail account at an Internet cafe, instructing the recipient to expect an email response in "exactly one week".
The announcement still came at an awkward time for Washington and Moscow as theywork on improving relations. They are also at odds over how to react to the war in Syria.
But there was little sign that either country wanted to escalate the affair beyond a minimum response, with one US State Department official advising not to "read too much into one incident".
The last significant spy scandal between the two countries was in 2010 when 10 Russian agents were arrested in the US and later exchanged for four Russians imprisoned on charges of spying for the West.