KGB: Sharoyko confessed to being Ukrainian spy

Pavlo Sharoyko has confessed to being a Ukrainian military intelligence officer who was sent to Belarus as a spy, Dzmitry Pabyarzhyn, spokesman for the Committee for State Security (KGB), told reporters in Minsk on November 20.

Mr. Sharoyko, a Minsk-based correspondent of Ukrainske (Ukrainian) Radio, was arrested on October 25 and later charged with espionage.

Mr. Pabyarzhyn said that Mr. Sharoyko was an officer of the Ukrainian defense ministry's Chief Intelligence Directorate who had been sent to Belarus under the guise of working as a reporter. Mr. Sharoyko headed the press office of the Chief Intelligence Directorate in the past, he added.

While in Belarus, Mr. Sharoyko paid local informers for gathering "intelligence" information relating to the military and political sphere, said the KGB spokesman.

"Conclusive evidence of his illegal activity harming Belarus' interests has been found," Mr. Pabyarzhyn said. Copies of intelligence reports that had been sent to Kyiv were reportedly discovered during a raid on Mr. Sharoyko's rented apartment.

According to the KGB, Mr. Sharoyko operated under the supervision of Ihor Skvortsov, an officer of the Chief Intelligence Directorate who stayed in Belarus under the guise of working as a counselor at the Ukrainian embassy. He has already been declared persona non grata and left Belarus.

On October 25, the KGB sent evidence of Ukrainian secret services' "illegal activity" to the Belarusian foreign ministry and Ukrainian Ambassador Ihor Kizim was informed about the arrest of the Ukrainian spy, said Mr. Pabyarzhyn. "An agreement was reached not to make the information public," he said.

Mr. Pabyarzhyn also announced the arrest of a Belarusian citizen for gathering secret information about Belarus' defense capability and passing it to Ukraine. The man, who has already made a confession, is facing a charge of high treason, said the KGB spokesman.