Spy games continue as Russia arrests a Lithuanian citizen

(Reuters/Scanpix)
6/26/2015 1:15 PM
Category: International

Russia arrested a suspected Lithuanian spy in Moscow on Thursday, Russian non-governmental news agency Interfax reported.

Yulia Skotnikova, spokeswoman of the Lefortovo prison where kidnapped Estonian security official Eston Kohver was also detained until recently, identified the suspect as Evgeny Mataytis, a citizen of both Russia and Lithuania.

If found guilty of espionage, Mataytis faces a prison sentence of 10 to 20 years.

Mataytis's arrest follows a string of similar espionage related detentions in both countries, as well as in Estonia.

An employee of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) was arrested in Lithuania in early May on suspicion of spying. On December 31, an alleged spy ring was detained near NATO air base in Zokniai. The arrests followed an incident in Estonia when the hotel rooms of the German air policing contingent stationed in Estonia were broken into.

In November 2014, Lithuanian security officials also detained two individuals, charging them with spying for the intelligence organization of Belarus.

Estonian authorities have convicted three Russian spies - former Defense Ministry official Herman Simm was arrested and later sentenced to 12.5 years in prison in 2009, former security official Aleksei Dressen was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2012, and Vladimir Veitman, a former specialist for Estonian counterintelligence, was found guilty of spying for Russian secret services and sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2013.

In December 2014, Russian media channel NTV exposed another of their alleged longtime mole, former ISS employee Uno Puusepp. Altough ISS confirmed that at least some of the revelation were true, Puusepp's access to important information was said to be have been crossly exaggerated.

The show aired a few months after the abduction of Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS) official Eston Kohver from Estonian border in September 2014. Kohver was taken to Russia, where he now stands trial on espionage charges.

M. Oll

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