March 17, 2014 / 3:18 PM / 5 years ago

Lithuania accuses Russian diplomat of spying

VILNIUS (Reuters) - Lithuania’s domestic intelligence department on Monday accused a Russian diplomat of spying, saying he had sought to gain access to classified information during the Baltic state’s presidency of the European Union last year.

The accusation was made at a time of increasing tension between the two countries as Lithuania nervously watches its former overlord asserting itself in Ukraine.

In its report for 2013, Lithuania’s state security department said the diplomat had sought to recruit a Lithuanian civil servant to obtain “secret and otherwise sensitive information” about Lithuania’s EU presidency.

“A monetary reward was offered for the information,” it said.

The report also accused Russia of bugging phone calls by Lithuanian diplomats and publishing them on YouTube and spreading snooping software through infected e-mail attachments, USB storage devices and CDs.

Russian embassy spokesman Aleksandr Ivanov said the mission’s policy was to not comment on reports of the state security department. However, he said the diplomat, who was named in the report, was still working at the embassy.

“We don’t have any official notes about activities of any specific people,” he said.

Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment.

Reporting by Andrius Sytas, Editing by Niklas Pollard and Angus MacSwan

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