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A group of 11 people accused of being Russian spies have been arrested in raids by US authorities.

Some of the arrestees had been living in the suburban US for decades.

The White House says improving relations with Russia should not be hurt by the allegations, although Russia has denounced the arrestsas a throwback to the Cold War era.

The alleged agents have not been accused of espionage but the charges against them could be punishable by five to 20 years in prison.

The suspects in the case settled on the east coast of the United States, around Boston, Washington and New York. According to their friends and neighbours they attracted little suspicion.

Cath Turner reports from the suburbs outside of New York City.

Source: Al Jazeera