The Latest: Lithuania, Russia carry out spy swap
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The Latest on a spy swap between Lithuania and Russia (all times local):
Lithuania’s spy chief, Darius Jauniskis, says the two Lithuanian men convicted of spying in Russia “have been reunited with their families” after they were released as part of a spy swap.
He added that Frode Berg, a Norwegian citizen serving a 14-year sentence in Russia for espionage, “was part of the deal” also. In Oslo, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said Frode Berg was handed over to Norwergian authorities in Lithuania.
Earlier Friday, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda pardoned two Russians convicted of spying.
Lithuania’s president has pardoned two Russians convicted of spying, a move seen as a step toward a spy swap with neighboring Russia that could include a Norwegian citizen serving a 14-year sentence for espionage in a Russian jail.
President Gitanas Nauseda’s office announced the move on Friday along with three unrelated pardons. Lithuania’s parliament last week voted to give its president the right to pardon a convict involved in a spy swap deal.
In return, two Lithuanians who both were sentenced in 2016 for spying in Russia could be released, as could Frode Berg, a retired Norwegian border inspector, who was arrested in Moscow in 2017 on espionage charges.
It wasn’t clear what the next step might be or when it would happen.