Estonia and Russia exchange spies at the border

Estonia and Russia have conducted a border exchange, swapping citizens convicted of espionage, reported Estonian news outlet Delfi.

The exchange was conducted on February 10 at the border crossing point in the village of Koidula, located on the Russian-Estonian border. Russian citizen Artem Zinchenko, who had served time for espionage in Estonia, was exchanged for Estonian businessman Raivo Susi, who had been convicted of espionage by Russia.

Russian citizen Zinchenko was convicted of espionage in May 2017 and sentenced to five years in prison. Estonian citizen Susi received 12 years in prison in Russia in December 2017. Before the exchange, both had submitted petitions for pardon, which the presidents of Estonia and Russia had each satisfied.

Delfi clarified that Raivo Susi was a businessman who also conducted business in the territory of the former Soviet Union. He was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport in February 2016 while traveling from Tajikistan to Tallinn. The actions that the FSB has accused him of were committed as far back as 2004-2007. The Estonian himself denied involvement in espionage.

According to the Estonian authorities, Raivo Susi is a co-owner of a company supplying Laki Autos and Musket airplanes; he is also an owner of Aerohooldus OU, which repairs aircraft. According to media reports, Musket is on the Foreign Ministry of Estonia’s contractor list as a broker in the trade in arms, ammunition, fire control systems, land, water and air vehicles, and armored vehicles.

Susi’s clients were comprised of millionaires from aviation clubs in Russia, England, the USA and Western Europe.

A new report was released earlier this week regarding the detention of a Russian spy in Latvia. Additionally, at the beginning of the month, three people were detained in Lithuania on suspicion of espionage on behalf of the Russian Federation. 

  Estonia, Russia, espionage

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