‘I’m not guilty’: Lithuanian suspect of spying for Belarus, Russia asks for public trial

Lithuanian citizen Romualdas Lipskis, a former employee of state company Oro Navigacija (Air Navigation) suspected of spying for Belarus, tells the court he is not guilty, delfi.lt reports.

After a Vilnius court opened the case on Friday, Lipskis pleaded not guilty and asked for the case to be heard in an open hearing. But prosecutors asked for hearings in camera saying that open hearings may reveal secret information.

According to the defendant, the information he transferred to a Belarusian person consisted of diagrams that are not classified and ‘are available anywhere online’. A panel of three judges is currently deciding on whether hearings should be closed.

Mr Lipskis is facing up to 15 years in prison.

In November 2014, the Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office and the State Security Department said Lipskis was charged with spying for Belarus. The court was presented with seven volumes of case materials including 1,300 documents and 26 pieces of audio and video recordings.

Romualdas Lipskis allegedly made photos of documents and other objects and delivered the information to the Chief Intelligence Board of the Belarusian Armed Forces’ General Staff. He is also suspected of collecting information about Lithuania’s army, its divisions, state companies with strategic importance for Lithuania’s national security, their activities, infrastructure.

According to the lithuanian side, Belarus might have shared the information obtained with Russia.

The prominent British journalist Edward Lucas, the author of a book on Russia’s spying, states that  Belarus  is spying in Lithuania both individually and is also acting as a proxy for Russia.

“Belarus does two things, it’s spying as Belarus and it’s also acting as a proxy for the Russians. So one of the questions would be whether this is part of Belarus’ bilateral espionage efforts on Lithuania or whether this is Belarusian KGB acting on behalf of their Russian brothers,” Mr Lucas said.

Former paramedic of Lithuania’s Armed Forces, Andrey Oshurkov, will also stand trial for alleged spying for Belarus. Lithuanian prosecutors are conducting one more investigation into spying after detaining a soldier of the Lithuanian Air Force Aviation Base and another individual in the end of December.

www.belsat.eu/en, following DELFI

See also