Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Russian trace in Romanian spying scandal /ROUNDUP/

10 March 2009 | 15:16 | FOCUS News Agency

Ukrainian media describe the spying scandal in Romania as non-standard. At the beginning it was announced that detainees – a Romanian non-commissioned officer and a Bulgarian citizen – who faced charges of high treason and espionage respectively, were giving secret information to “a third country, which is not an EU and NATO member.”

A day later the scandal with the spies, who were giving information to Russia, as the Romanian press announced, claimed its first victim – Ukraine’s military attaché Sergei Ilnitsky was expelled from Romania on suspicion of espionage, i.e. in the same (non)-standard spying scheme Ukraine was involved in the spying scandal. As support for the claims that Kiev spies on Bucharest come the disputes about the sailing along the Danube river and St. Thomas Island, or Snake Island, as a result of which Romania wants to discredit Ukraine’s NATO and EU ambitions.

Later the authoritative Moscow Kommersant daily releases information about the ‘Ukrainian bond.’ The newspaper, however, does not mention that the Romanian press write openly that it is Moscow that spies on Romania, an EU and NATO member.

Commenting the issue, the former chief of the Military Information Department in the General Staff of Romanian Armed Forces reserve general Mihai Margarit said in an interview with Ukrainian media that, as a rule, spying incidents were allowed with confidential talks between the governments of the states concerned and declaring the spies person non grata.
“The arrest of a foreign spy with the ensuing announcement of information about the issue is something extraordinary,” he said.

Ukraine does not comment officially the information that their diplomats were spying on Romania. Despite that the local media are already citing sources close to the Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council as saying that that scandal bears ‘a Russian trace’ and that in fact the Ukrainian diplomats are spies who were working in favor of Russia and were just a ‘link’ in the network for providing secret information. Another Cold War spying scandal became popular recently. At the end of February 2009 Herman Simm, former Estonian minister of defense, was sentenced to 12 years and a half in prison and imposed a fine of EUR 1,288 million over giving classified NATO and EU information to Russian intelligence services.

“Yes, I worked for the foreign intelligence services. Yes, I knew that the people I gave information to were members of the Russian services,” confessed Simm.

61-year-old Simm was charged with high treason over giving more than 2,000 pages of secret documents to the Russian intelligence services. The documents dealt with Estonia’s defense policy and its international military relations.

Now the question everyone asks is who has interest in spying on Romania?

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