Russian national Maria Butina, who was jailed in the United States in April after admitting to working as a Russian agent, arrived in Moscow, greeted by her father and Russian journalists who handed her flowers.
Maria Butina, who served nine months in a US jail for acting as a Russian government agent, arrived in Moscow on Saturday, a day after her release from prison.
Butina arrived at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport after leaving Miami. She had been held in Florida's Tallahassee prison.
She was arrested in July 2018 on allegations of engaging in espionage. In December, Butina entered a plea deal on a charge that she acted as an illegal, unregistered foreign agent, and was sentenced to 18 months in prison, half of which was credited as already served.
"I am very happy to be home. I am very grateful to everybody who supported me, to the Russian citizens who helped me and wrote letters" on her behalf, an emotional Butina told reporters on her arrival.
Maria Butina arrives in Moscow, US documents in hand, and says she's "very happy to be home," thanking everyone who supported her as people greet her with flowers. pic.twitter.com/ussO8UXRKa— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) October 26, 2019
"Many thanks to the foreign ministry and to the diplomats who daily fought my corner," added Butina, her arms clutching several bouquets of flowers as her father and foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova escorted her through arrivals.
Butina, a 30-year-old from Siberia, used ties with the NRA firearms lobby to help build a network of high-level Republican contacts.
Those efforts brought her into contact with President Donald Trump before his 2016 election, as well as with one of his sons.
Butina was the only Russian arrested and convicted in a three-year investigation of Moscow's interference in US politics.
Moscow decried her case as being politically-motivated.