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Belarus Arrests Ukrainian Journalist on Spying Charges

Belarus’ domestic security agency said it arrested Ukraine Radio journalist Pavel Sharoiko on charges of spying for Kiev’s espionage agency.

Belarus’ domestic security agency says it has arrested a Ukrainian journalist on spying charges.

The agency, which still goes under its Soviet-era name, KGB, said that Ukrainian Radio correspondent Pavel Sharoiko has been in custody since his arrest in Minsk on October 25.

KGB spokesperson Dmitry Pobyarzhin said Monday that Sharoiko is accused of setting up a network of agents collecting military-political information. He added the KGB found incriminating evidence during a search in Mr. Sharoiko’s apartment, but wouldn’t elaborate on what Belarusian secrets he was trying to obtain.

“In Belarus Pavel Sharoiko created a human intelligence network made up of Belarusian citizens, who had been collecting intelligence of military and political nature for him in exchange for money,” the Belarusian Telegraph Agency (BelTA) reported Mr. Pobyarzhin as saying.

Sergei Tamilenko, head of the journalists union of Ukraine, said last week that Mr. Sharoiko was arrested in Minsk on October 25 and his apartment was searched. On Friday, 112 Ukraine reported that he was being held at a KGB “pretrial detention center” in Minsk. According to press reports, he has met with a Ukranian consul officer.

Mr. Pobyarzhin said that Mr. Sharoiko confessed that he was a Ukrainian spy agency officer working under journalistic cover. Copies of intelligence reports were found in his apartment, according to the spokesperson.

According to BelarusDigest, a project of the think tank Osttogorski Centre, Mr. Sharoiko served with Ukranian military intelligence until 2009.

Ukraine has refrained from commenting on the case. Igor Skvortsov, a Ukrainian diplomat accused of working as Mr. Sharoiko’s handler, has been ordered to leave Belarus.

With reporting by AP.

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