Sa, 4.02.2023
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Estonian security agency caught person recruited by Russia's GRU

Estonian security agency caught person recruited by Russia's GRU
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Photo: Sander Ilvest

The Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS) caught a person at the beginning of this year who had been recruited by the Main Intelligence Agency (GRU) of the armed forces of Russia, ISS chief Arnold Sinisalu told journalists at the presentation of the 2016 yearbook of ISS on Wednesday.

Sinisalu said that the person recruited by GRU was caught on Jan. 9 and has been charged under the article of the Penal Code dealing with engagement by an alien in non-violent activities directed against the independence and sovereignty or territorial integrity of the Republic of Estonia, an offense punishable with up to ten years in jail.

ISS said the charged individual is a citizen of Russia but refused to specify whether or not he holds an Estonian residence permit.

The prosecutor in charge of the investigation, Inna Ombler, said that the male suspect was under arrest and no further details could be disclosed because proceedings were ongoing.

"The prosecutor's office has always considered cooperation with the Internal Security Service as important. During the past two years we have taken to court five cases dealing with offenses against the state. In these cases convictions have entered into force," Ombler said.

In recent years interest of the special services of Russia can be noted towards recruiting residents of Estonia who have no direct access to state secrets. As a rule, these are individuals having dual Estonian and Russian citizenship, whose illegal cross-border activities make them an easy target for the special services of Russia.

Protection of state secrets and classified international information, especially in cases where state officials are involved, are a permanent concern for the prosecutor's office and the Internal Security Service, the prosecutor said.

"During the past year, the Office of the Prosecutor General has filed charges under three criminal cases against former officials obliged to keep state secrets, who have been convicted by a court," Ombler said.