Belarus announces arrest of alleged Lithuanian spy ring members

Belarus and LithuaniaBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The government of Belarus has announced the arrest of an espionage ring allegedly operating out of the Lithuanian embassy in Belarusian capital Minsk. It appears that the alleged ring consisted of at least one Lithuanian embassy official, identified only as “Mr. F” in Belarusian state documents, as well as an undisclosed number of Belarusian nationals. A brief statement published on the website of the Belarusian State Security Committee, the KGB, said that the Lithuanian official, who is said to be a military attaché at the embassy, was arrested along with several Belarusian members of the alleged spy ring. The arrests reportedly took place soon after members of the spy ring were caught in the act of exchanging information; the KGB press office added that “electronic equipment” and “spy gadgets” of an undisclosed nature were confiscated from the arrestees. Little is known at this point about the precise focus of the accused spies; the KGB claims that they were “engaged in efforts to gain information in the military sphere”. Media reports from Minsk suggest that the activities of the alleged ring were particularly focused on bilateral security arrangements between Belarus and Russia. Belarus, a former Soviet republic, is today one of Russia’s staunchest allies in Europe; since 1994, the country has been ruled by Russophile President Alexander Lukashenko, who often accuses other former Soviet republics —including Lithuania— of stooping to the West. Read more of this post

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Belarus puts on trial members of alleged Polish military spy ring

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Very little information has appeared in Western news outlets of an ongoing trial in Belarus of four army officers accused of spying for Poland. The four, all of whom are Belarusian, are accused by Belarus security officials of collaborating with Polish intelligence agents by providing them with classified data on Belarusian military technologies, as well as with information on Russia’s air defense system, of which Belarus is a partner. A fifth alleged member of the spy ring, who is a Russian military officer, is facing similar charges in Moscow. The four Belarusians were reportedly arrested several months ago by the KGB, Belarus’ intelligence service. The discovery of the alleged spy ring led to a major political scandal in Minsk, prompting the dismissal of KGB’s director, Stepan Sukhorenko, by Belarus’ longtime President, Alexander Lukashenko. If convicted of treason and espionage, the army officers could technically face the death penalty under Belarusian law.