Georgia says busts Russian spy ring, 13 arrested
Georgia has dismantled a major Russian spy ring and arrested 13 suspects, including four Russian citizens, who allegedly fed sensitive military information to Moscow, the interior ministry said Friday.
Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said the suspects, who included Georgian military officers, had been providing secret information on Georgia's military to the Russian military's foreign intelligence service, the GRU.
"This is a huge deal in terms of Georgia securing its military intelligence and a big blow to the GRU," Utiashvili told AFP, adding that Georgian security services had managed to infiltrate the spy ring.
Georgia and Russia fought a brief war in August 2008 that saw Russian forces pour into the country to repel a Georgian military attempt to retake the Moscow-backed rebel region of South Ossetia.
Tensions between the two neighbours had been growing for years in the run-up to the war, including after the 2006 arrest of four Russian military officers on espionage charges. The four were eventually released and returned to Russia.
© 2010 AFP