Belarus’s KGB state security service is claiming it has uncovered a spy ring working for Ukraine’s defence ministry.
It linked the ring’s set up to detained Ukrainian Radio correspondent Pavlo Sharoyko, who was arrested in late October and charged with being an undercover intelligence officer.
“In Belarus, Pavlo Sharoyko built a network of agents made up of Belarussian citizens, who carried out his assignments on gathering intelligence information in the military and political sphere for monetary compensation. Sharoyko himself admitted being a sworn officer of the military intelligence working under disguise, and also stated his military rank of Colonel,” said the KGB’s Dmitry Pobyarzhin.
Ukraine has protested at the conditions under which Sharoyko is being detained, and his employers and family at the lack of information.
“Recently he reported on the Russia-Belarus joint drill “Zapad-2017”, he travelled there, visited military fields, he had live broadcasts from these locations, interviewed experts and journalists. In other words, in his reports not only he presented infrormation but also commented on some of these events,” said Sharoyko’s wife, Elena.
Ukrainian intelligence denies Sharoyko works for them.
He has been reporting on some of the around 60 Ukrainians being held in Russia and Russian-held Crimea on politically motivated charges, most recently the case of 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb, who disappeared in August after crossing into Belarus, reportedly to meet a girl. He was allegedly abducted by the Russian FSB, and is now in a Russian jail. For Ukraine this is a new and worrying development, as Ukrainians previously had little to fear in Belarus, as all of its Russian detainees had been taken from Ukraine, Crimea, or while in Russia.