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Russia charges detained Estonian official with espionage

Less than a week after his alleged abduction at the border, Estonian Internal Security Service officer Eston Kohver has been charged by Russia with espionage and is being held at a detention center in Moscow.

By JC Finley
Russia charges detained Estonian official with espionage
Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, pictured in 2013, cautioned against making assumptions about the security officer, suggesting he was conducting border police work. (UPI/John Angelillo) | License Photo

MOSCOW, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Russia has charged an Estonian security officer with espionage less than a week after being detained near the border.

Eston Kohver is being held at a detention center in Msocow, his attorney, Mark Feygin, told CNN.

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Kohver, an Internal Security Service officer, was allegedly abducted on September 5 near the Luhamaa border checkpoint. Estonia's Foreign Ministry summoned Russian Ambassador Yuri Merzlyakov in response to the incident.

At the time, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said he expected "to receive all manner of help and cooperation necessary from Russia in solving this case and bringing the Estonian citizen back to Russia."

On Wednesday, Paet demanded Russia release Kohver, whose detention Estonia considers illegal.

According to Russia's Federal Security Service, Kohver was on a clandestine assignment when he was detained in Russia's northwestern Pskov region. "He had a Taurus handgun, an amount of €5,000 in cash, equipment for covert audio recording, and materials indicative of an intelligence mission," the FSB press center reported.

The incident followed U.S. President Barack Obama's promise while visiting Estonia that NATO members would protect Baltic states from Russian aggression.

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