Officials in Georgia confirmed November 5 that they have broken up a Russian spy ring involving “dozens” of people, who for years had passed Tbilisi’s military secrets to Moscow, possibly including information about tactical and strategic plans during the 2008 Russia-Georgia war.
After a week of suspense surrounding earlier media leaks, Tbilisi produced 13 suspects -- four Russian and nine Georgian nationals. They are accused of working for Russian military intelligence (GRU), using specially developed spy hardware to send coded security and defense intelligence to Moscow.
In an unusual revelation about sourcing, Georgian Interior Ministry officials said they acted on tips from a former Soviet Army officer-turned-double agent, who had been working in the GRU. The ministry claimed that Georgia’s 2006 decision to offer an amnesty for foreign intelligence agents willing to cooperate with Tbilisi had helped pull off this “major counterintelligence operation.”
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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance reporter based in Tbilisi.