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Belarus sentences four spies to long prison terms

RIA Novosti

14/09/2007 14:53 MINSK, September 14 (RIA Novosti) - The Belarusian Supreme Court has sentenced four military officers convicted of spying for Polish intelligence to prison terms varying from seven to 10 years, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported Friday.

Belarus announced the detention of members of a Polish spy ring that allegedly gathered classified data on Belarusian and Russian air defenses in July.

Deputy Chairman of the State Security Committee Viktor Vegera said at the time the ring comprised four Belarusians and a Russian citizen, who had already surrendered to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).

The alleged ringleader, former Belarusian officer Vladimir Russkin, has been sentenced to 10 years in a high-security prison. Viktor Bogdan received a nine-year sentence, and Sergey Kornilyuk and Pavel Petkevich were both sentenced to seven years.

Russkin confessed that he was recruited by Polish intelligence when he was caught at a border checkpoint attempting to smuggle alcohol. He later recruited four other officers who had access to classified information.

The spies gathered data on S-300 missile defense complexes deployed on combat duty in Belarus, and passed the information on computer disks to Polish handlers, the investigators said.

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