Lithuanian citizens travelling to Belarus, Russia are being recruited – minister

  • 2022-04-16
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuania's counter-intelligence is recording cases when Lithuanian citizens travelling to Russia or Belarus are being recruited for spying, Lithuanian National Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas says.

The State Security Department also warned about that earlier this week.

"Our counter-intelligence service is recording a number of cases where attempts are being made to recruit Lithuanians going to that country or those going to Russia, to obtain additional information, and to ask very detailed questions about things that we, for our part, if it was in Lithuania, would consider espionage," the minister told journalists on Friday.

In his words, the Russian and Belarusian special services are forced to take such actions because their ability to operate within the territory of Lithuania has been reduced.

Lithuanian citizens should assess these risks before travelling to Russia or Belarus, Anusauskas warned.

Lithuania's Chief of Defense Lieutenant General Valdemaras Rups says soldiers must obtain the army's permission to travel to the aforementioned countries, adding that ordinary Lithuanian citizens could also become potential targets of Russian and Belarusian intelligence.

On Thursday, Belarus announced that Latvian and Lithuanian citizens would be able to come to Belarus visa-free for a month, from April 15 to 15 May 15.

Earlier this week, Lithuania's intelligence warned of increased risks for Lithuanians travelling to Russia and Belarus due to rising tensions over Russia's war in Ukraine. The SSD said the intelligence services of these countries are stepping up their effort to recruit Lithuanian citizens travelling to Russia and Belarus.