The Russian Embassy in Tallinn is puzzled by the Estonian authorities' claim that Russian citizen Alexei Vasilyev, 20, who was arrested at a border checkpoint in Narva on Nov. 4, is an agent of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).
"We are perplexed as to why the Estonian authorities said right after his detention that he is an FSB agent," Russian Ambassador to Estonia Alexander Petrov told Interfax on Monday, commenting on Vasilyev's meeting with the Russian consul. "The guy is 20 years old. We don't understand why this theory was voiced; it can be perceived as an attempt to generate public opinion."
A public defender has already been assigned to Vasilyev, but he can decline counsel and, in this case, the Russian Embassy would provide him with the relevant assistance, said the ambassador.
"The meeting took place at our insistence, because initially Vasilyev refused it," Petrov said. "He explained at the meeting with the consul that he signed a document on refusal of assistance, because he was told during the investigation that the embassy can't do anything for him."
The Russian citizen can call the embassy if necessary, and the Estonian authorities are not creating obstacles to Vasilyev's meeting with diplomats, the ambassador nonetheless noted.
Arrested at Estonian-Russian border
On Nov. 4, officials of the Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS) arrested a man on his way to Russia at the Narva border checkpoint as a suspected FSB agent. A court in Tallinn took the Russian citizen into custody at the prosecutor's request last Monday.
The man is suspected of a non-violent offense against the Estonian state as an FSB agent as well as of preparing for a computer-related crime. According to the Office of the Prosecutor General, the target of the man's activities were Estonian state institutions.
According to State Prosecutor Inna Ombler, who is leading the criminal investigation, allegations of a criminal offense against the state are serious.
"Acting against the Republic of Estonia as an agent of the special service of a foreign country is without a doubt a serious crime, and we will figure out all the essential facts as soon as possible," Ombler confirmed. "Right now, we can say without releasing any details that greater damage was prevented."
The criminal investigation launched regarding the matter is being led by the Office of the Prosecutor General and conducted by the ISS.
Editor: Aili Vahtla