Russia has taken part in a carefully co-ordinated spy swap with Norway and Lithuania, in a deal that required the Lithuanians to change their laws.
It took place at Lithuania’s southern border with Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave and involved two Russians, a Norwegian and two Lithuanians.
The three countries have been working on the operation for weeks.
The best known of the five men is Frode Berg, a Norwegian ex-border guard arrested in Moscow in 2017.
His case became a cause celebre in Norway after he was found with naval documents handed to him by a former Russian policeman.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg praised the Lithuanians for their role in the swap. “The time spent in prison has been a large burden for Frode Berg and his family. We are happy that he can now be reunited with his family,” she said.
Berg’s daughter said she was overjoyed he was free. She was waiting in Oslo for his return.
The two Russians, Nikolai Filipchenko and Sergei Moisejenko, were jailed in Lithuania two years ago.
The Lithuanians, Yevgeny Mataitis and Aristidas Tamosaitis, were jailed in 2016. Lithuania was a former Soviet republic but since independence in 1990 the Baltic state has joined the EU and Nato.
Confirmation of the swap came from President Gitanas Nauseda and the head of Lithuania’s SSD…