Several high-ranking Serbian military officials were allegedly spying for Russia
Belgrade has attracted the media's attention again, including the Russian media too. The interest of the Russian media outlets in another scandalous trial in Serbia is understandable: it goes about the "espionage for an eastern state." The state is called Russia.
There has not been much information received about it from the Balkans. Serbian mass media report, the investigation on the case of arrested senior military officials will not be made public. The Court Martial is investigating the case against Colonel Dragoljub Zivkovic, who had been charged with espionage and documents forgery. Police officers found forged IDs of the State Security Service and the Military Security Service with him. Supposedly, Zivkovic was collecting secret information about the armies of Serbia and Montenegro.
The information about the arrest of three military men appeared on September 22nd. Podgorica's newspaper Vijesti wrote, a lieutenant colonel and two colonels of the Serbian Army Headquarters had been arrested. No names were specified. The military men, the newspaper wrote, were spying for a foreign state. They were arrested after an agent working for the Russian intelligence had paid them for the secret information. According to the mentioned newspaper, the agent was a businessman from Montenegro, currently residing in Moscow. He transferred 16,000 euros on an account of one of the military men.
Tanjug news agency reported with reference to a source at the Court Martial that the information about the arrest of the three high-ranking military officials was not true to fact. To be more precise, it goes about Colonel Zivkovic's arrest only, he will have to spend 30 days in a detention center. Yet, B-92 radio said, there was a whole "espionage center" at the defense department and several officers had already been arrested on the allegation of espionage for Russia.
This scandal will not bring any good to the Serbian government that has been striving for Serbia's and Montenegro's membership in NATO. Furthermore, the Russian Federation is implicated in the scandal too - the everlasting thorn in NATO's side. The Russian intelligence has not made any comments about the arrests in the capital of Serbia and Montenegro.
It deems that Belgrade has finally determined its priorities. Serbian pro-Western authorities have reportedly started the cleansing procedure in the army, trying to get rid of the military men loyal to former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. It is not ruled out that more arrests will follow, and they will not be necessarily connected with the latest spy scandal.