World: Russia Releases Norwegian, Lithuanians in Unusual Spy Swap - - PressFrom - US
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World Russia Releases Norwegian, Lithuanians in Unusual Spy Swap

17:55  15 november  2019
17:55  15 november  2019 Source:   bloomberg.com

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Two Lithuanians and a Norwegian convicted of espionage in Russia were freed Friday in exchange for two Russians imprisoned in Lithuania . Director of the State Security Department Darius Jauniskis speaks during a news conference following his meeting with Lithuania 's President Gitanas

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Two Lithuanian men convicted of spying in Russia and a Norwegian citizen serving a 14-year sentence have been freed as part of a spy swap , authorities said Friday. Yevgeny Mataitis and Aristidas Tamosaitis, who were convicted in 2016, have been reunited

(Bloomberg) -- Lithuania and Russia swapped spies at the Baltic nation’s border on Friday, with two Lithuanian citizens and a Norwegian handed over in exchange for two Russians.

a man in a suit standing in front of a window: Russian security official Nikolai Filipchenko stands inside Vilnius' Regional Court in Vilnius.© Photographer: AFP Contributor/AFP Russian security official Nikolai Filipchenko stands inside Vilnius' Regional Court in Vilnius.

Earlier Friday, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda pardoned the two Russians, who’d been sentenced to 10 years each in 2017 for espionage, to clear the way for the exchange.

“We’re very pleased that this long and laborious operation has been completed successfuly,” said Vaidotas Zukas, Nauseda’s defense adviser. “Citizens must know that the state won’t abandon them.”

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Two Russians jailed for espionage have been pardoned by the president of Lithuania . It could clear the way for Russia to release two Lithuanians and a Norwegian in a spy swap . For weeks, Norway , Russia and Lithuania have working on a three-way exchange.

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuanian lawmakers adopted a bill Thursday that is paving the way for a spy swap with neighboring Russia . © PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP/Getty Images File photo shows Lithuania 's parliament in Vilnius Frode Berg, a 63-year-old retired Norwegian border inspector, was

The unusual operation included two North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies and led Russia to release Frode Berg, a Norwegian who’d been sentenced to a 14-year prison sentence in Russia for spying on that country’s navy submarines.

“We are glad that Frode Berg is now coming home to Norway as a free man,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in the statement. “I would like to thank the Lithuanian authorities for their cooperation and for their efforts to free Berg.”

Lithunians Jevgenij Mataitis and Aristidas Tamosaitis, convicted in Russia in 2016 on spying charges, were also freed. On the Russian side were Nikolai Filipchenko, a Russian security officer who sought help from Lithuanian counterparts to bug a former Lithuanian president, and Sergei Moiseyenko, a military surgeon who asked a childhood friend working at an airbase to provide information on NATO air policing.

--With assistance from Stephen Treloar.

To contact the reporter on this story: Milda Seputyte in Vilnius at mseputyte@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrea Dudik at adudik@bloomberg.net, Michael Winfrey, Gregory L. White

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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