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Court sentences GRU spy to prison for crime against state

Photo is illustrative.
Photo is illustrative. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

Harju County Court on Monday found a Russian citizen living in Estonia on a residence permit guilty of spying for the benefit of Russia's Main Intelligence Agency (GRU) and sentenced him to five years in prison.

According to charges pressed by the Office of the Prosecutor General, the GRU, the foreign military intelligence agency of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, recruited Artjom Zinchenko, 30, in 2009 and from 2013 until his apprehension the defendant actively participated in operational activity of the GRU aimed at harming Estonia's security.

In the course of his collusion against Estonia, Zinchenko received assignments from GRU employees; his primary task was to gather intelligence on objects of national defense and objects ensuring vital services on Estonian territory but also for example the movement of Estonian Defence Forces' and Estonian Defence League's allies' equipment in Estonia.

Zinchenko was also tasked with procuring requested items from Estonia for the GRU, such as communications tools.

Zinchenko repeatedly and periodically forwarded intelligence and requested items gathered in the course of his work to GRU employees via communications devices as well as meetings arranged in Saint Peterburg.

The defendant is a citizen of the Russian Federation who has resided in Estonia under a residence permit since 2013.

The investigation against Zinchenko, which was preceded by cooperation between the Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS) and the Information Board, was led by the Office of the Prosecutor General and conducted by ISS.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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