Minister to Russia: stop spying on us
- By The Baltic Times
TALLINN ? Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis said on Wednesday that Lithuania was ready for cooperation with Russia but would not allow anyone to spy on it.
The minister was referring to a recent spat of diplomatic expulsions between Lithuania and Russia, as well as the airspace violation by a Russian helicopter this week.
?We are willing to cooperate in a constructive way with Russia and analyze problems. However, only in a way to protect our national interests and immunity as equal partners in negotiations,? Valionis told journalists after meeting with President Valdas Adamkus on Wednesday.
?We will attempt to persuade Russia that spying is useless and that we will not tolerate this,? he stressed.
In July Lithuania expelled three Russian diplomats, two of whom were believed to have been military officers collecting intelligence data for Russia's military intelligence.
In response, Russia expelled Lithuania's military attache Sigitas Butkus and refused to accredit Colonel Romas Zibas who was to replace him.
The expulsions came after a similar round in February, when Lithuania expelled two diplomats working at the Russian Embassy in Vilnius and one working at the Russian trade mission.
The State Security Department then said that the three diplomats were members of Russia?s intelligence community and had attempted to collect political, economic and military information and initiate confidential ties with Lithuanian citizens and officials of various institutions for money.
In response, Russia sent out three diplomats of the Lithuanian Embassy in Moscow at the end of March.
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