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Romania-Ukraine spy scandal turning into full diplomatic row

Achim & Zikolov

Achim & Zikolov

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The spy scandal that erupted between Romania and Ukraine earlier this week is gradually turning into a full-scale diplomatic war, fuelled by longstanding tensions between the two countries. On March 5, Romania responded to the discovery of a Ukrainian-handled spy ring in the country by expelling Ukraine’s Military Attaché from Bucharest. On May 6, Ukraine reciprocated by expelling two Romanian diplomats, a Military Attaché stationed in Kiev and a Consular Vice-Secretary stationed in Cernauti. The two officials were accused by Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs of spreading “separatist feelings in the Romanian community in Ukraine” and “secretly funding organizations that spread anti-Ukrainian ideas”. The alleged secret activities appear to relate to the 250,000-strong Romanian-speaking minority living in the Chernivtsi region of Ukraine. Read more of this post

Update: Bulgarian spy reportedly a double agent

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The latest news from Bulgaria is that a Bulgarian former military attaché arrested in the recent Romanian spy scandal was in fact a double agent who was covertly working for the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI). On February 28, Romanian counterintelligence agents arrested Petar Marinov Zikolov (or Zikulov) along with Romanian noncommissioned officer Floricel Achim, on charges of supplying classified military information to Ukrainian embassy officials. Zikolov, who was Bulgaria’s military attaché in Romania from 1998 to 2000, is said to have acted as an intermediary between Achim and the Ukrainians. But fresh reports from Bucharest suggest that the Bulgarian former diplomat was apprehended by Romanian counterintelligence agents in 2008 and agreed to surrender information about “everything he had been doing in Romania” as well as detailed lists with names of “collaborators from foreign states”. Read more of this post

Romania uncovers spy ring involving Bulgaria, Ukraine

Achim & Zikolov

Achim & Zikolov

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Last week, Romania’s President, Traian Băsescunt, surprised observers by abruptly and without explanation cancelling a scheduled high-level visit to Ukraine. The reason for the cancellation has now become apparent, with the announcement by the Romanian authorities of a Ukrainian-handled spy ring in Romania’s capital Bucharest. Specifically, on February 28, agents of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) arrested Floricel (or Florichel) Achim and Petar Marinov Zikolov (or Zikulov) for allegedly handing classified information to Ukrainian embassy officials. Achim is a noncommissioned officer in the Romanian military, whereas Zikolov is Bulgaria’s former military attaché to Romania. Romanian prosecutors, who have charged the arrestees with espionage and treason, claim that the two were handled by Ukrainian intelligence agents from 2002 to 2007. Read more of this post