Whoever thinks that spies are thing of the past is sadly mistaken. Today, an alleged Lithuanian spy was arrested in Russia. Moscow’s Lefortovo court has ruled that the spy: Arstidas Tamosaitis will be held until July 20th at a Moscow detention centre. Under Russian law, espionage runs the risk of a 10 to 20 year jail sentence.
While the exact nature of the alleged spy’s goals is still unknown, Tamosaitis was apprehended with classified documents from a Russian national. Furthermore, the alleged spy admitted to being a member of Lithuanian military intelligence. Meanwhile, other reports indicate that Tamosaitis was working with the Lithuanian Defense Ministry.
While the Cold War may be long over, tensions between Moscow and the former Soviet State have continued to heat up. It is believed that Russia’s annexation of Crimea has sparked this increased presence. The West has accused Moscow of initiating a rebellion in Russian speaking Ukraine after the annexation in March 2014. Russia however, denies any involvement in eastern Ukraine.
Lithuania is a Baltic state, that is home to a large Russian minority. The country has been airing their grievances surrounding Russia’s increasing presence in the area.
It’s not just Lithuanians who are doing the spying though. According to Lithuania, they have identified four Russian spies in 2014 alone. One of whom was trying to infiltrate the country’s political leadership, law enforcement, and security institutions! The most recent alleged spy was apprehended just two weeks ago.
Relations between Lithuania and Moscow are increasingly heated. Lithuania has been in talks with both Latvia and Estonia to establish a permanent NATO presence in the Baltic in an attempt to stave off Russia’s increasing presence. Lithuania’s own President, Dalia Grybauskaite considers Russia to be “a terrorist state.”
Lithuania is set to be hosting the Eastern Partnership Summit beginning tomorrow. This is a European Union program that is designed to bring the members of the former Soviet Union together to discuss ongoing peace initiatives with the West. The Eastern Partnership was founded by Poland in cooperating with Sweden before being inaugurated by the European Union in 2009. It is intended to be a platform to discuss trade, economic strategies, travel agreements, and other issues within the East. In addition to the entire European Union, the Post Soviet States of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and the Ukraine are all a part of the Eastern Partnership. 2015 will mark the first year it is held in Lithuania.