Police in Pennsylvania's Pittsburgh have accused the couple of ethnic intimidation after photos and video showed them stalking a Russian man.
Video and cellphone photos show architect Robert Pfaffmann and his partner, Lisa Marie Haabestad, stalking the son of famed Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin in their neighborhood since late February.
Investigators said the pair attacked Russian-born Vasily Potanin at his home, throwing bags of rice and messages denouncing Russian President Vladimir Putin and holding a sign that read "Leave our neighborhood" while shouting threats.
"They assume that just because of my nationality I have a benefit (from the operation in Ukraine - ed.). That I am Putin's spy. I work for him. All this is nonsense," Vasily Potanin said. "You can be a patriot of your country, but not like the government. I don't think the government is doing anything but pretty evil things at the moment."
Vasily Potanin came to the United States almost a decade ago and is studying in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz sharply commented on the remarks from the leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) of Germany