Lithuania's decision to publicly prosecute foreign spies is a good deterrence measure, reflecting the attitude towards Russia as a hostile country, says Edward Lucas, the author of a book on Russian spies.
Edward Lucas
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

The British writer and journalist called Lithuanian prosecutors' announcement of the recent detention of a suspected Russian spy "a pleasant surprise" which "shows that Lithuanian counter-intelligence is doing its job".

Earlier in the day, Lithuania's Prosecutor General's Office said the detained Russian citizen worked for Russia's Federal Security Service, the FSB.

According to Lucas, the FSB agent's activities show that Moscow sees Lithuania as its "near abroad". Russia's other intelligence service, the foreign intelligence service SVR, usually operates in countries farther away from its borders.

"It's interesting they named both the country and the service (...). Lithuania is being quite blunt about this and I think it's good. It's interesting they haven't tried to swap this person because in previous years we saw arrests being used to trade and it never gets into the public domain. I think it has a good deterrence effect that spying is not without consequences. Ten years ago you could spy for Russia anywhere in the world and the worst thing to happen - if you got caught, you got sent home. And now you spend quite a long time in prison," Lucas, the author of Deception: The Untold Story of East-West Espionage Today, told BNS.

"I think it's a sign of realism. What often happens in Western countries is that the spy catchers catch spies and the politicians decide there is no point in making things worse by talking about it publicly. In Lithuania's eyes, Russia is a hostile power and there is nothing to be gained by this sort of diplomatic niceties," he added.

According to Lithuanian prosecutors, the detained individual, born in 1977, "carried out an intelligence operation against Lithuania, aimed at penetrating Lithuania's governing institutions, Lithuanian law-enforcement and intelligence services".

According to the State Security Department, the detention prevented “access to the information known to top leaders of Lithuania only with the aim of manipulating and influencing decision-making processes in Lithuania at the top level”.

This is the fourth spying case disclosed by Lithuanian law enforcement and intelligence within less than a year.

BNS
Naujienų agentūros BNS informaciją skelbti, cituoti ar kitaip atgaminti visuomenės informavimo priemonėse bei interneto tinklalapiuose be raštiško UAB "BNS" sutikimo neleidžiama.

Nauseda: Turkey approves defense plan but technical hurdles still possible

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda says the Baltic countries and Poland have received Turkish...

Life sentences sought for men tried for murder of young woman

The prosecution is seeking life sentences for three young men standing trial for the murder of a...

Lithuanian farmers to hold protest in Brussels

Lithuanian farmers will hold a protest in Brussels on Thursday to express their dissatisfaction...

Prosecutors want exchanged Russian spy's accomplices tried in absentia

A criminal case in which charges were brought against two suspected accomplices of Nikolai...

Nauseda: Lithuania needs to spend 14 billion EUR on climate change over 10 years

Lithuania will need to spend 14 billion euros over ten years to meet its climate change commitments,...