20 Nov 2017 17:32

Ukrainian journalist Sharoiko admits he is career officer of Ukrainian intelligence service - Belarusian KGB

MINSK. Nov 20 (Interfax) - The Belarusian State Security Committee (KGB) has detained Ukrainian national Pavlo Sharoiko in Minsk on suspicion of "creating an agent network in the country" and Sharoiko has admitted that he is a Ukrainian intelligence officer, Belarusian KGB spokesman Dmitry Pobyarzhin said.

"On October 25, the KGB carried out an agent action and caught Pavlo Sharoiko, staff officer of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense's main intelligence department, red-handed. Given his record as head of the press service at the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense's main intelligence department, he was appointed for cover as a correspondent of the National Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine," Pobyarzhin said at a press briefing in Minsk on Monday.

Sharoiko "created an intelligence network of Belarusian nationals who acted for money to fulfill his orders and collect intelligence in the military-political sphere," Pobyarzhin said.

A criminal case on espionage charges was filed against Sharoiko. He was taken into custody.

"Convincing evidence has been provided of Sharoiko's [engaging in] illegal activities detrimental to the national interest of the Republic of Belarus," he said.

"Copies of reports earlier sent by the detainee to the center were found when searching him," he said.

Sharoiko has admitted to working undercover as an army intelligence officer. "He said his military rank is colonel," Pobyarzhin added.

"The detainee has confirmed that the officer of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense's main intelligence department Ihor Skvortsov, acting under the cover of the position of councilor at the Ukrainian embassy to Belarus, coordinated his intelligence activities," he said. "For activity incompatible with his diplomatic status, Skvortsov has been declared persona non grata," Pobyarzhin said.

Files confirming the Ukrainian secret services' illegal activities against Belarus were sent to the Belarusian Foreign Ministry on October 25. The Ukrainian ambassador in Minsk was informed a few hours after Skvortsov was detained, he said.

"Given the nature of bilateral relations, it was agreed that these facts were not to be made public," Pobyarzhin said.

A Belarusian citizen carrying out espionage in the interests of Ukraine was caught collecting secret files and admitted wrongdoing. "He revealed that on orders from Ukrainian army intelligence, he was engaged in collecting and transmitting information about Belarusian defense capabilities in exchange for money. A criminal case was opened against him under Article 356 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus (high treason)," he said.

The Belarusian KGB is undertaking the necessary investigative procedures, Pobyarzhin concluded.