News24

9 jailed on spying for Russia charge

2011-07-07 14:27

Tbilisi - A Georgian court on Thursday sentenced nine people to long prison terms on charges that they spied for Russia, the Interfax news agency reported.

The Russian and Georgian nationals worked directly for Russia's central intelligence directorate from 2006 - 2010, the court in the Black Sea port city of Batumi ruled.

The leader of the spy ring was identified as Yury Skrylinkov, a Russian national who received a 14-year prison sentence, Interfax reported.

Other sentences ranged from 11 to 14 years, according to the report.

Two Georgian Air Force pilots were also convicted, in part for providing the Kremlin intelligence during the brief 2008 Russia-Georgia war, which ended disastrously for Georgia.

Georgian police at the end of October arrested four Russian nationals and nine Georgian nationals in a series of raids in the Adjara region, a district adjoining the renegade Georgian province of Abkhazia.

Abkhazia achieved de facto independence from Georgia in a civil war ending in 1993. Russia has long supported Abkhazia, and used the territory for marine landings during the 2008 war with Georgia.

Relations between Georgia and Russia have been poor for decades. Bones of contention beside Abkhazia include the Georgian territories of South Ossetia and the Kodori Valley, the latter of which Georgia lost to Abkhazian forces during the war.