Asia Crisis

Russia jails army officer for Georgia spying

MOSCOW, Aug 28 (Reuters) - A Russian military court on Friday jailed a Russian army lieutenant-colonel for passing military secrets to Georgia in the run-up to last year's war.

Mikhail Khachidze, who served as the deputy commander of a military unit in the southern Russian region of Stravropol, was sentenced to six years in prison by a court in Rostov-on-Don.

"He was found guilty of treason," Russian news agencies quoted a court official as saying. A spokeswoman for the court was not immediately available for comment.

The prosecution said Khachidze had used the Internet to pass military secrets to Georgian intelligence services in 2008 ahead of the five-day war between Russia and Georgia.

The news agencies said Khachidze, who has a Georgian surname, was recruited inside Georgia and was paid several thousand dollars for the secrets.

Itar-Tass said the sentence was lighter than usual because the soldier had young children and had cooperated with counter espionage services. (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Darya Zhdanova, editing by Michael Roddy)