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Estonia convicts a university professor from Russia of spying for Moscow

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Estonia convicts a university professor from Russia of spying for Moscow
News

News

Estonia convicts a university professor from Russia of spying for Moscow

2024-06-18 23:26 Last Updated At:23:31

A university professor was jailed Tuesday in Estonia after being found guilty of spying for Russian military intelligence, part of a campaign of sabotage, electronic warfare and information gathering that Estonian officials blame on Moscow.

Viacheslav Morozov, a Russian citizen who taught at Estonia's country's most prestigious university, was sentenced to six years and three months in prison for undermining the security of the Baltic state during the 14 years he operated in the country until his arrest in January.

Estonian officials are extremely hawkish about the threat from Russia and have convicted a number of people of spying for Russia in recent years. Harju County Court in the Estonian capital said Morozov collected information about Estonia’s defense and security policy and the people and infrastructure related to it.

Estonia has a large Russian-speaking population and court documents said Morozov also provided Moscow with information on the situation involving social integration and political issues in the country.

Political relations between Russia and Estonia have been icy since 1991, when Estonia regained its independence from the former Soviet Union. The Baltic state shares a border with Russia and is one of the most vocal supporters of Ukraine and the biggest provider of aid as a percentage of gross domestic product.

Estonian officials refused to disclose Morozov's plea and said his trial was held behind closed doors because of security concerns.

The Director of Estonia's Internal Security Service, Margo Palloson, said Moscow was particularly interested in any changes in Estonia's security and defense policy and in “everything that is believed in the West” about the war in Ukraine.

Morozov was recruited in Russia in the early 1990s, when he studied at St. Petersburg State University and was influenced by the fact he was a Russian citizen but also by the “romance of intelligence,” Palloson said during a joint news conference with Estonia's state prosecutor's office after the verdict.

While Morozov cooperated with the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence arm, he was never a staff officer and did not actively start working for them until 2010, when he moved to Estonia, Palloson said.

The Estonian spy chief said the University of Tartu was not the main target for Morozov's espionage but rather he used his standing as a professor to access conferences and key people in order to collect information on Estonia's internal, foreign and defense and security situation.

That information was mainly passed on during his frequent trips to Russia, Palloson said, adding that Morozov became more active after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, including handing over the personal information of people in Estonia who he thought Russian intelligence might be able to recruit.

Morozov received a fee for his work for the GRU but this was not his primary motive as “the sums were insignificant,” the Estonian state prosecutor’s office and the domestic intelligence service said in a joint statement Tuesday.

Palloson warned against travel to Russia, saying Russia's spy services are aggressively trying to recruit Estonians, including by manipulating or pressuring them to work for Moscow.

Referencing attempts to attract foreign students to study in Russian universities, the Estonian spy chief said Russia wants to recruit students in the hope that they may go on to achieve positions of influence later in their careers that may be useful for Moscow.

Estonian officials view the spying as part of a broader campaign by Russia, which has included sabotage and attacks across Europe including in Lithuania, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told The Associated Press in May that Russia is conducting a “shadow war” against the West.

This year, 13 people have been arrested in Estonia over attacks allegedly organized by Russian military intelligence operating under diplomatic cover, and flights between Finland and the city of Tartu were disrupted by Russian jamming of GPS signals.

———

Associated Press writer Jari Tanner in Helsinki contributed to this report.

Estonia's Prime minister Kaja Kallas attends the plenary session during the Summit on peace in Ukraine, in Obbürgen, Switzerland, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Urs Flueeler/Keystone via AP)

Estonia's Prime minister Kaja Kallas attends the plenary session during the Summit on peace in Ukraine, in Obbürgen, Switzerland, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Urs Flueeler/Keystone via AP)

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Gio Urshela hits 2-run homer, Tigers score 7 runs in 2 innings to stun Dodgers 11-9

2024-07-14 05:13 Last Updated At:05:20

DETROIT (AP) — Gio Urshela hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning after the Detroit Tigers overcame a 9-4 deficit in the ninth to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 11-9 on Saturday.

“I don't know how to appropriately comment on that game,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “It's an amazing feeling to see the guys happy — what a comeback on both sides of the ball.”

Wenceel Perez bunted Ryan Vilade to third to start the 10th. The Dodgers played a five-man infield, but Urshela ruined the strategy by homering to left off Yohan Ramirez (0-4).

“What a game by the whole team,” said Urshela, who didn't enter the game until extra innings. “They fought so hard and I just wanted to get the runner to home plate.”

Shohei Ohtani hit his 200th homer and tripled, giving him 233 total bases — the eighth-highest total before the All-Star break since the game was first played in 1933.

Ricky Vanasco started the ninth for the Dodgers, but didn't retire any of the three batters he faced. It was 9-6 when Dodgers manager Dave Roberts brought in closer Evan Phillips.

Phillips retired the first two batters, but Carson Kelly hit an RBI single to make it 9-7 and Colt Keith tied the game with a homer to left.

“With a five-run lead, especially the way we've been rolling, we have to win that game,” Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes said. “We went cutter up and in and (Keith) just got to it. We needed to close out that game sooner.”

Will Vest (2-3) got Freddie Freeman to hit into a bases-loaded double play to end the top of the 10th.

The Dodgers have lost five of six while the Tigers have won seven of nine.

The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead when Ohtani led off the game with a triple and scored when Freeman grounded into a force at second.

Detroit got two runs in the second, with Kiké Hernández's error helping set up Keith's two-run double, but the Dodgers tied it in the third. They loaded the bases on a walk and two singles. Montero struck out Andy Pages for the second out but walked Chris Taylor to make it 2-2.

The inning could have gotten much worse for Detroit, as right fielder Vilade lost Gavin Lux's flyball in the sun, but he recovered to make a lunging catch.

Ohtani led off the fifth with a long homer to right and Lux made it 5-2 with a two-run single later in the inning.

Vilade and Andy Ibáñez led off the bottom of the inning with back-to-back homers. Vilade's was the first of his major-league career.

Cavan Biggio walked in the sixth, took third on a Barnes single and scored the sixth Dodgers run when Ohtani grounded into a force at second.

Hernández made it 8-4 with a two-run homer in the seventh. Freeman's sacrifice fly scored Ohtani to make it 9-4 in the eighth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Tigers 1B Mark Canha (wrist) and SS Javier Baez (back) left the game with injuries. Urshela entered the game in the 10th inning to play first base after Ibáñez and Vilarde struggled to play the unfamiliar position.

UP NEXT

The Tigers and Dodgers finish the three-game series on Sunday afternoon, with both teams expected to get nine innings out of their bullpens. Roberts said the Dodgers will make roster moves to have enough arms for the game.

“I think both teams would lobby to play seven innings tomorrow,” Hinch joked. “We're both pretty beat up with a bullpen game coming.”

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Justin Wrobleski throws during the second inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Justin Wrobleski throws during the second inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Keider Montero throws during the third inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Keider Montero throws during the third inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Keider Montero throws during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Keider Montero throws during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Keider Montero throws during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Keider Montero throws during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Anthony Banda throws during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Anthony Banda throws during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani is greeted in the dugout after a solo home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani is greeted in the dugout after a solo home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Los Angeles Dodgers' Enrique Hernández looks towards the dugout and reacts after his two-run home run during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Los Angeles Dodgers' Enrique Hernández looks towards the dugout and reacts after his two-run home run during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Los Angeles Dodgers' Enrique Hernández is greeted in the dugout after his two-run home run during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Los Angeles Dodgers' Enrique Hernández is greeted in the dugout after his two-run home run during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Los Angeles Dodgers' Chris Taylor (3) pats the helmet of Enrique Hernandez as they are greeted in the dugout after the two-run home run by Hernandez during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Los Angeles Dodgers' Chris Taylor (3) pats the helmet of Enrique Hernandez as they are greeted in the dugout after the two-run home run by Hernandez during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Detroit Tigers' Ryan Vilade looks skyward as he arrives at home plate after a solo home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Detroit Tigers' Ryan Vilade looks skyward as he arrives at home plate after a solo home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Detroit Tigers pitcher Andrew Chafin throws during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Detroit Tigers pitcher Andrew Chafin throws during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Los Angeles Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani safely scores from third during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Los Angeles Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani safely scores from third during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani safely beats the throw to Detroit Tigers second baseman Colt Keith to steal second during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani safely beats the throw to Detroit Tigers second baseman Colt Keith to steal second during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

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