Lithuania Breaks Up Russian Spy Ring At NATO Airbase; Officers Detained

Lithuania Breaks Up Russian Spy Ring At NATO Airbase; Officers Detained

Multiple media sources are reporting that an alleged Russian spy ring operating at a major NATO airbase in Lithuania has been broken up.

Government sources at the national general prosecution office confirm that several members of the alleged spy ring were detained at a NATO base in the Lithuanian city of Siauliai. Lithuanian lieutenant colonel,Vidmantas Raklevicius confirmed with the Russian news agency Itar-Tass that one of the people arrested was one of his officers.

Details on Lithuania spy ring arrests

Raklevicius confirmed that the arrested officer was stationed at the Zoknai airbase, a large NATO facility in charge of the organization’s Baltic patrol flights.

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“The special services informed me about his capture,” the colonel said, but would not provide further information about the alleged spy’s identity.

He did note that the arrested serviceman was an experienced officer, saying he had worked at the air force for a decade planning flight routes.

Zoknai airbase outside Šiauliai is a key NATO base and command over it is shared between Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, making it a key location for intelligence sharing. According to the terms of the current agreement, control of the facilities is rotated from one country to the next once every four months

Statement from Lithuanian public prosecutor

A statement from Lithuania’s public prosecutor announced that an investigation into the alleged espionage is currently underway. The spokesperson refused to comment about to media speculation that the suspected spy ring was eavesdropping on behalf of Russia.

At a briefing today, the spokesperson for the prosecutor, Elena Martinonene, pointedly did not rule out the possibility Russia was involved.

However, Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas refused to speculate and noted that he has been told only two persons have been detained to date.

Of note, Lithuania’s department for national security said they had no comment at the current stage of the investigation.

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