17 Oct 2019 14:57

Russian Foreign Ministry unaware of pending exchange of spies with Lithuania

MOSCOW. Oct 17 (Interfax) - Reports alleging the pending exchange of convicts between Russia and Lithuania seem to be speculation, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"I looked them up and tried to understand what they were about. [...] Truth be told, I have no information about it. The entire thing looks like speculation," Zakharova said.

The news agency BNS said on Wednesday with reference to informed sources that Lithuania and Russia had agreed to exchange persons convicted of espionage.

The sources said that Lithuania would exchange Federal Security Service agent Nikolai Filipchenko convicted two years ago for Lithuanian citizens Yevgeny Mataitis and Aristidas Tamosaitis convicted in Russia in 2016. The exchange deal also allegedly includes a Norwegian citizen convicted in Russia and another Russian citizen, they said.

The Norwegian citizen mentioned by BNS' sources is Frode Berg, who was convicted of spying and sentenced to 14 years in a penitentiary.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier on Thursday that he had no information about the request for pardoning Berg.