April 13, 2016 / 1:36 PM / 3 years ago

Russia jails former naval officer for 13 years in Lithuania spy case

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian court on Wednesday sentenced a former naval officer to 13 years in jail for selling state secrets to Lithuania concluding he was guilty of state treason, Russia’s FSB security service and the court said.

The FSB said in a statement that Yevgeny Mataitis, a 39-year-old Russian citizen and reserve military officer, had admitted that Lithuanian intelligence had recruited him in 2009. He had then agreed to hand over state secrets about Russia’s armed forces in exchange for a monthly salary, the FSB said.

The court said Mataitis had been gathering such information in the Kaliningrad region for six years.

Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave bordering Poland and Lithuania, is heavily militarised and hosts the main base of Russia’s Baltic Fleet.

Ties between Russia and ex-Soviet Baltic states such as Lithuania deteriorated sharply after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. The three countries later joined NATO, a move Moscow saw as a threat to its national security.

Mataitis, who holds double Russian-Lithuanian citizenship, pleaded guilty, the court and the FSB said. He was fined 200,000 roubles ($3,042), stripped of his military rank, and will serve his sentence in a high-security prison.

Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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