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2019.11.15 14:00

Who are the two Russian spies pardoned by Lithuanian president?

Vaidotas Beniušis, BNS2019.11.15 14:00

President Gitanas Nausėda has granted pardons to two Russian citizens jailed in Lithuania for espionage as part of a swap deal with Moscow.

Read more: Lithuanian president pardons 2 Russians ahead of possible spy swap with Moscow

BNS looks at who they are.

Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Nikolai Filipchenko

Filipchenko was detained on April 29, 2015, while traveling by train from Russia's Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad to Belarus via Lithuania.

On July 7, 2017, Vilnius Regional Court convicted Filipchenko of espionage and sentenced him to ten years in prison.

According to Lithuanian law enforcement, he was an officer of the Kaliningrad branch of the FSB and operated under a fake identity.

According to Lithuanian intelligence, it was the first time that a Russian FSB cadre had been detained in Lithuania for spying.

Filipchenko's spying operation was aimed at “infiltrating into government institutions of the State of Lithuania as well as law enforcement and intelligence services”.

Lithuania's law enforcement said earlier that Filipchenko sought to recruit officers of the VIP Protection Department and to plant bugs in the office and residence of Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė.

After the court issued the sentence, neither the judge, nor the prosecutor commented on specific episodes.

Filipchenko's lawyer said he did not admit to the crimes. Filipchenko himself refused to testify. Initially, he appealed against his sentence but later withdrew his claim and served the sentence at Vilnius Correctional Facility.

GRU officer Sergey Moiseyenko

Sergey Moiseyenko, an officer of Russia's military intelligence GRU, was detained in late 2014 and sentenced to 10 years and six months in prison by a Šiauliai court.

Moiseyenko, an army surgeon, has lived in Lithuania since the 1970s and worked at a military hospital in Šiauliai. He had the Lithuanian citizenship, but lost it after it turned out that he was also a Russian citizen.

In 2012, he recruited Sergej Pusin, an officer of the Lithuanian Air Force's Airbase in Šiauliai he knew since his childhood, to get information about the Lithuanian military and the NATO air policing mission, military flights, military training, capability deployment areas, as well as operations in Afghanistan.

Moreover, copies of documents of Lithuania's Ministry of National Defence were handed over to Russian intelligence, as well as personal files of several officers at the airbase. According to the case, Moiseyenko paid from 500 to 1,000 euros to Pusin for the information. Their secret meetings in Lithuania would take place in Moiseyenko's garage.

Moiseyenko denied his guilt, appealed against the sentence, but the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court rejected his appeals.