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Belarus KGB Says Ukrainian Journalist Set Up Spy Ring in Minsk


Belarus' KGB state security service spokesman Dmitry Pobyarzhin speaks during a briefing in Minsk, Belarus, Nov. 20, 2017.

Belarus's KGB state security service said on Monday it had uncovered a spy ring working for the Ukrainian Defense Ministry that had been set up by a detained Ukrainian radio correspondent.

Minsk-based journalist Pavlo Sharoyko was arrested in October and charged with being an undercover intelligence officer, KGB spokesman Dmitry Pobyarzhin said in a briefing.

"In Belarus, Sharoyko built a network of agents made up of Belarusian citizens, who carried out his assignments for monetary compensation," Pobyarzhin said.

An adviser to the Ukrainian embassy in Minsk, Ihor Skvortsov, has been declared persona non grata as he is believed to be Sharoyko's handler, Pobyarzhin said.

The Ukrainian Foreign and Defense Ministries declined immediate comment. Sharoyko and Skvortsov could not be reached for comment.

The case could put further pressure on relations between Minsk and Kyiv that were tested earlier this year when Belarus hosted large-scale joint military exercises with Russia on Belarusian territory.

September's “Zapad-2017” (West-2017) war games unnerved neighboring Ukraine and NATO member states on Europe's eastern flank, which feared the exercises could be a rehearsal or cover for a real offensive.

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