Lately Moscow has intensified both political and espionage activities. Russia is also drawing Belarus into its own spy schemes. Mečys Laurinkus, aformer head of Lithuania’s state security department, told Belsat TV why it is happening. He had visited Belarus before the relations between the countries’ secret services (watch the video, ENG subs).
Last year there were several spy scandals in Lithuania: the country expelled three Russian citizens, two persons suspected of collaboration with the Belarusian intelligence were arrested.
You are a former head of Lithuania security department. Can you tell us whether spying for Belarus is something new or such incidents happened earlier?
You know, I am not entitled to speak on behalf of the state or its secret service, I am an observer now. According to open source information, I can say that the Lithuanian intelligence does earn its salt – it is working hard and paying its way. I do not know what their work will result in and I cannot comment on it. But the Lithuanian counterintelligence had never conducted such operation before.
Romualdas Lipskis is suspected of delivering information on civil aviation, Andrei Oshurkov was a military paramedic and allegedly collected data on military equipment, weaponry owned by the Lithuanian army. Why can this information be of importance for Minsk?
I do not know what for they need it. It may become clear later. But collecting information on the military field is conventional. But I can only suggest why Belarus is hunting for such information and how it will be used.
It cannot be ruled out that the Belarusian secret service may be sharing intelligence information with Russia because [the parties] are on intimate terms with each other.
In your opinion, what aims do Russia’s Lubyanka set in Lithuania?
I believe it is not Lubyanka that sets aims, but Moscow itself. And other departments are trying to reach them.
It would be naive to think that Russia is not looking for allies in Europe in order to lift the sanctions, to solve other problems. Both diplomacy and intelligence are working on it, and this is normal practice. They have already got results – [they found] nine states
Another objective of Russia is to find out what’s happening in Lithuania, how the things are going in the military field, whether there are some secrets. I think they are placing great efforts here. I guess they are not even hiding it.
Belarus is spying in Lithuania both individually and is also acting as a proxy for Russia, claims prominent British journalist Edward Lucas, the author of a book on Russia’s spying.