Lithuania jails 2 of its nationals for spying for Russia

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — A court in Lithuania on Friday convicted two Lithuanian men of spying for Russia by passing information to a Russian handler, and jailed them for 4 years and 1.5 years, respectively.

The Klaipeda Regional Court said Mindaugas Tunikaitis and Aleksejus Greicius did not know each other, but were in contact with the same FSB agent from Russia’s Kaliningrad region, an exclave located between Poland, Lithuania and the Baltic Sea.

The trial was held behind closed doors in the port of Klaipeda, Lithuania’s third largest city.

Tunikaitis, who did not dispute the charges, told the court he regularly visited Kaliningrad and was recruited there by an officer of the FSB, a successor to the KGB.

For almost six years, the Lithuanian citizen observed, photographed and filmed objects, and collected information online or through other people and gave the information to the FSB officer, the court found.

According to the court, Greicius organized events for almost four years that were partially financed by the unnamed Russian intelligence officer, and photographed or filmed the events and people attending them.

He gathered information relating to these events and had it published in Lithuanian media. The information also was given to the Russian officer.

Although Greicius denied the espionage charges, the court concluded that there was sufficient evidence to prove his guilt.

Lithuania was part of the Soviet Union for five decades and declared independence prior to its 1991 collapse. Lithuania is now part of the European Union and NATO.

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