Russia, Belarus, China intel bodies' recruitment attempts detected in Lithuania in 2022

  • 2023-04-26
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Russian, Belarusian and Chinese intelligence agencies made several attempts to recruit people in Lithuania last year, but they failed, the State Security Department (VSD) said in its annual performance report published on Wednesday. 

"Several cases were identified where Russian, Belarusian or Chinese intelligence and security services attempted to recruit Lithuanian citizens, but none of these were successful," it said. 

The report also says that five Russian intelligence officers working under diplomatic cover were expelled from Lithuania last year and notes that the intensity of Russian intelligence activity remains high.

"The intensity of other activities by Russian intelligence services – information operations, and radio-electronic and cyber-intelligence – remains high, and therefore VSD will give priority to preventing these activities by conducting counter-intelligence and cyber-security investigations," the intelligence agency said.

Last year, information gathered by VSD was used in five pre-trial investigations, two of which concerned violations of international sanctions. Four people had their residence permits revoked due to a threat to economic security posed by their activities.

Twelve people were banned from entering Lithuania: nine due to terrorist threats and three over links to hostile countries' intelligence bodies.

The Russian and Belarusian regimes are making considerable efforts to mitigate the impact of and find ways to go round international sanctions imposed on the two countries in the wake of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, according to the report.

"Sanctions circumvention schemes have become a key focus of VSD's economic security investigations," it said.

The department says it has identified companies operating in Lithuania that are helping Russian entities to circumvent sanctions and has provided information about them to the relevant authorities.