Oct 30, 2010

Georgia arrested 20 people suspected of spying for Russia

Georgian police detained 20 people suspected of spying for Russia. The Georgian Interior Ministry declined to confirm or deny the report: “We do not comment on the matter; I can neither confirm nor deny Shota Utiashvili, head of the information and analytical department of the Georgian Interior Ministry.

Ria Novosti, Interfax Russian news agencies as well as Reuters reported Friday evening that Georgian police detained 20 people suspected of spying for Russia

The detainees, all Georgian citizens, were alleged to have formed a spy network and passed secret information to Russia, the sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The Georgian Interior Ministry refrained from making any official comment on the report. "We refrain from comments right now. An official announcement will be made at a press conference on November 5," Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said.

Georgian officials previously said that they do not exclude a possibility of espionage for Russia on their territory, but they were able to control it. The announcement came in response to the warning by a former British intelligence chief, Jerry Warner, that after failures in the US and Europe, Moscow would send its intelligence agents to Georgia and Ukraine.

Two years earlier, Georgia detained four Russian military GRU(Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravlenie: Russia's largest foreign intelligence agency) officers and 12 other people on charges of spying. They were subsequently handed over to Russia.