Lithuania Jails Russian for Spying
Rahvusvahelised uudised 15 Jul 2017  EWR
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Spying accusations and convictions against Russians and alleged local helpers are on the rise in the Baltics.

Russian citizen Nikolai Filipchenko has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in Lithuania after a court in Vilnius found him guilty of spying for Russia, Newsweek reports.

Filipchenko was accused of working for the Russian security agency FSB. He was charged with attempting to recruit officers from the agency charged with protecting Lithuanian officials to plant bugs in the office and home of President Dalia Grybauskaite (pictured). He pleaded not guilty and refused to testify at his trial, the Baltic Times reported last month.

Filipchenko is among several Russians accused or convicted of spying for Russia in the Baltic states this year.

In February, former Lithuanian military officer Sergejus Pusinas and his alleged Russian intelligence contact Sergei Moiseyenko were sentenced to five and 10.5 years in prison, respectively, for collecting intelligence about Lithuania’s armed forces as well as NATO operations.

In 2016 Poland sentenced a lieutenant colonel to six years for handing information about Polish servicemen open to recruitment by Russia to Russian intelligence, The Moscow Times reported.

Russia itself faces increased activity by foreign intelligence services, President Vladimir Putin said on 28 June.

“They use new methods of collecting and spreading information, carry out cyber-attacks, try to recruit agents to gain access to the information concerning Russia’s defense capabilities, economic potential and resources,” Putin said during a visit to Russian Foreign Intelligence Service headquarters, TASS reported.

The Russian leader accused foreign intelligence services of supporting extremist and terrorist groups working to destabilize regions adjoining Russia.

• In April, Estonia’s Internal Security Service said a Russian citizen detained in January had been charged with engaging in non-violent activities directed against the independence and sovereignty or territorial integrity of Estonia. The security service believes he was recruited by the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, service head Arnold Sinisalu said, according to the Baltic Times.

• U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to have second thoughts yesterday about a joint U.S.-Russian cyber-security team. “Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded,” Trump tweeted yesterday after his meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the G20 weekend summit in Hamburg.

• “The suggestion immediately raised eyebrows and suspicions from both American and allied intelligence officials and lawmakers,” CNN writes. The reaction seems to have hit home, as later in the day Trump was back on Twitter saying that just because he discussed the matter with Putin “doesn’t mean I think it can happen.”

(Compiled by Ky Krauthamer)
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