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Crime-Justice

Man suspected of spying for Russia arrested in Romania

IANS | May 25, 2024 11:28 AM

BUDAPEST: A Romanian man has been arrested on suspicion of spying for Russia for the past two years, prosecutors in Bucharest said on Friday.

His suspected Russian contact, a diplomat, was expelled.

Since 2022, the Romanian man had been "collecting information of a military nature and taking photographs of military combat equipment and the movement of personnel in the border area with Ukraine, " the statement said.

The man is suspected of spying on Romanian or NATO military positions located in the vicinity of the city of Tulcea, it continued.

Tulcea is located on the Danube Delta, about 7 kilometres from the Ukrainian border. There are transport connections to Ukraine from there.

The suspect had transmitted this data to the Russian embassy in the Romanian capital Bucharest, the public prosecutor's office added.

The Russian diplomat was declared persona non grata in connection with the espionage case at the suggestion of the Romanian domestic intelligence service (SRI), intelligence officials announced.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bucharest also confirmed the Russian's expulsion, but did not state the exact reason for the move.

As is usual in such cases, it only noted a violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

An investigating judge has ordered that the suspected spy, who is a Romanian citizen, be remanded in custody for an initial period of 30 days.

The investigation was conducted by a special unit of the Romanian public prosecutor's office, which is responsible for organized crime and terrorism, in collaboration with the country's domestic intelligence service, NATO's intelligence service and Romania's army.

Following searches of the suspect's home, several pieces of evidence were identified and seized, investigators said.

He had tried to submit his candidature for the local elections planned for June, but without success.

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