Russian sentenced to 8 years in jail in Lebanon for ‘spying for Israel’

The man’s wife was acquitted of similar espionage charges after Russian authorities allegedly proved her innocence.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A Russian citizen was sentenced recently to eight years’ imprisonment in Lebanon for allegedly spying for Israel, Russian news agency Ria Novosti reported Wednesday.

The report did not state whether the man, whose last name was noted as Chaikin, was a citizen of any other country as well.

Chaikin had been arrested last July in Beirut’s international airport along with his wife and infant daughter, as they tried to leave the country, the report said. According to the news agency, Russian authorities have been working on the case for the last six months, talking with “Hezbollah, the [Lebanese] army and the Lebanese foreign ministry.”

Noting that these three elements were all involved in such high-level diplomatic dealings acknowledges that the sources of political power in Israel’s northern neighbor includes the Iranian terror proxy.

Hezbollah is officially part of the Lebanese government, but no other political party was parlaying with the Russians.

These discussions bore fruit, as Moscow seemingly managed to provide evidence of the wife’s innocence – or applied enough political pressure – and the military court exonerated her. She was allowed to leave Lebanon with her baby to return to Russia last Saturday.

While Ria Novosti did not mention any specifics of the charges against Chaikin, the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Akhbar newspaper said that the defendant confessed that he had been recruited by Israeli intelligence to inspect and take pictures of various Hezbollah sites, using a map the Israelis provided.

According to its report, the Russian admitted that he had gone “more than once” to the Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut, the Dahiyeh neighborhood, and that the data he provided was meant to verify previously collected information.

Al-Akhbar maintained that the wife had confessed that she had known of her husband’s work for the Israelis and had even helped him carry out his mission.

Dahiyeh is a predominantly Shia Muslim suburb of the capital that is known to be a Hezbollah stronghold. In early January, AFP reported that the Israeli air force had assassinated Hamas deputy head Saleh Al-Arouri in Dahiyeh by hitting a meeting room he was in with guided missiles. Hezbollah has been supporting Hamas ever since Israel declared war on its Gazan counterpart after its forces invaded Israel on October 7, massacring 1,200 people and taking 253 hostage.

So far, Hezbollah has limited itself mainly to fiery rhetoric and launching UAV’s, rockets and anti-tank missiles at northern Israeli communities, killing several soldiers and civilians and wounding dozens. These attacks have engendered a fierce IDF response over the border, with both artillery fire on Hezbollah border positions and airstrikes further into the country.

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