Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ukraine Mulls Response to Romania Spy Scandal

Ukraine says it is looking for an “adequate response” to Romania’s decision to expel Kiev’s military attaché to Bucharest following an alleged involvement in espionage. "Bucharest has not followed all normal procedures in such situations so we are now looking for an adequate response," said a spokesperson from Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense, quoted by NewsIn news agency.

Early this week the Ukrainian military attaché was declared "persona non grata" before being expelled from the country. A non-commissioned officer within the Romanian Defense Ministry, MApN, and a Bulgarian citizen were also arrested on Tuesday on charges of espionage and treason for allegedly passing on classified information to Ukraine.

Romanian prosecutors say that between 2002 and 2007 the officer, Floricel Achim, passed classified military information to Bulgarian citizen Marinov Zikolov in exchange for money. The information included maps, military technical information and details on radars.

On his part, Zikolov gave the information to a representative of Ukraine in Bucharest, prosecutors added. The Ukrainian embassy has refused to comment.

Local media have reported that Achim has admitted the charges, allegedly saying he
did it because he was in "a precarious financial situation". According to Romanian law, the maximum jail term for espionage is 25 years, while for high treason it is life imprisonment.

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