Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko attends a meeting in Minsk on June 18, 2019.

Photo by AFP

MINSK – Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said he is willing, on a reciprocal basis, to grant pardon to Ukrainian citizen convicted of spying in Belarus Pavlo Sharoiko and exchange him for Belarusian citizen charged with spying in Ukraine Yury Politika.

“In the Belarusian leader’s words, there even existed agreements on this account with former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, but Ukraine hasn’t honored the agreements,” the Belarusian state news agency BelTA said.

The Belarusian State Security Committee (KGB) reported on Nov. 20, 2017 that it had caught Sharoiko in the act of spying in Minsk. It said his intelligence-gathering activities in Belarus were coordinated by Ihor Skvortsov, an officer of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate, who was undercover as a counselor at the Ukrainian embassy in Minsk. Ukraine expelled a Belarusian diplomat based on the principle of reciprocity.

The Belarusian Supreme Court ruled on Feb. 19, 2018 to sentence Sharoiko to eight years in prison for spying. The Belarusian KGB said earlier that the Ukrainian might be pardoned.

The Ukrainian Security Service detained Belarusian citizen Yury Politika on suspicion of spying in June 2017. The Belarusian Prosecutor General’s Office has said repeatedly that Politika’s case was politically motivated.

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