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2019.11.18 09:46

Freed Norwegian in spy swap with Russia flies home from Lithuania

BNS2019.11.18 09:46

Norwegian citizen Frode Berg was flown to Norway from Lithuania on Saturday and is now at an undisclosed location with his family, according to local media reports.

Freed during the recent Lithuanian-Norwegian spy swap, Berg flew to Norway from Vilnius on a private plane on Saturday night, according to the Norwegian broadcaster NRK and the VG news website, citing Berg's lawyer Brynjulf Risnes.

Berg and two Lithuanian citizens were freed on the Lithuanian border with Russia's Kaliningrad on Friday. In exchange, Lithuania sent back two Russian citizens convicted of spying in the Baltic country.

Having spent two years in prison in Russia, Berg thanked everyone for support in a video published on Facebook on Friday, including to Lithuania President Gitanas Nausėda.

"There are a lot of people who earn my appreciation for their support through these two years. I want to specifically thank my family," Frode Berg said in a video shared on Facebook by his lawyer Brynjulf Risnes on Friday night. "A special thank you also to the President of Lithuania, who made possible today’s exchange on the Lithuanian-Russian border."

Berg was detained in Moscow in 2017 and later sentenced to 14 years in prison for spying.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said the exchange on Friday is an example of close cooperation between two NATO allies, Lithuania and Norway.

According to the minister, the operation showed that "not only our interests but also those of our allies are important to us".

"Of course, we are first of all happy for our citizens. But we are also glad because this is a nice example of our close cooperation with Norway," he told BNS on Friday.