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Russia says detains man who spied for Lithuania

Written by: Staff
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MOSCOW, Oct 24 (Reuters) Russia's counter-intelligence agency said today it had detained a man in its Baltic Sea enclave of Kaliningrad who had been passing military secrets to Lithuania.

The FSB, one of the successors to the Soviet-era KGB, said the detained man was an officer in Russia's prisons service and had been arrested nearly a week ago with electronic equipment in his possession.

But Lithuania's prime minister denied his Baltic state, which borders Kaliningrad, had been engaged in any espionage against Russia.

An FSB statement identified the man as Vasily Khitryuk and said he had ''long cooperated with the Lithuanian secret services'' by persuading colleagues in the armed forces to hand over ''secret documents for financial reward''.

''As a result of the special operation carried out by the FSB, a leak abroad of secret information on combat and mobilisation readiness of the Baltic Fleet and forces stationed in Kaliningrad Region has been thwarted,'' it said.

In Vilnius, Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said he was aware of the incident. But no one, he said, had been engaged in spying.

''We know this case but we are on friendly terms with our neighbours. We don't spy,'' Kirkilas told a news conference.

Kirkilas said he could not rule out that the arrest had been carried out in retaliation for Lithuania's expulsion this month of a Russian diplomat on spying charges.

Lithuania gave no reason for that expulsion, but Kirkilas said then he hoped it would not affect relations with Moscow.

Russia has made no reciprocal expulsion, though Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus said such a move was to be expected.

The chairman of Lithuania's parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Justinas Karosas, told Baltic news service BNS the FSB's detention of the Russian nation did not constitute proof that he had spied for Lithuania.

REUTERS BDP BS1511

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