Darius Jauniškis confirmed on Thursday that there were people in Lithuania “who want to go there and fight on the side of separatists”, but he declined to give any details.
The Delfi.lt news website reports that several Lithuanian citizens and a Ukrainian citizen who earlier lived in Lithuania are on intelligence and law-enforcement officers’ radar over suspicions of their participation in fighting in Eastern Ukraine.
Jauniškis described such actions as “going against the established policy of the state” because “it has been stated that we do not support the occupation of Crimea (and) the separatist sentiments of Donetsk and Luhansk”.
“This is acting against the European Union, NATO, Western values and Lithuania,” the director told reporters.
In his words, Lithuanian bodies’ task is “to observe, identify and, if they return, take appropriate action”.
According to Delfi, Lithuanian officials received information that a former Kaunas police officer, who had been sacked for bribery, could have been involved in fighting on the side of separatists between 2014 and 2015.
Reportedly, the Vilnius police are searching for Sergey Shmakov, born in 1978, who has allegedly fled from Lithuania’s law-enforcement and joined separatist groups in Eastern Ukraine. The man has convictions in Lithuania for theft, multiple border-crossing violations and murder.
It is said that among those on the State Security Department’s radar is Eduard Akopov, a Ukrainian citizen who had a temporary residence permit in Lithuania.
Based on information found on social media, the man allegedly took part in fighting on the side of separatists. It is suspected that he was the leader of a militant group in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.
After the hostilities between the Ukrainian Army and separatists calmed down, Akopov started to come to Lithuania, where he looked for possibilities to send children from Eastern Ukraine to sanatoria in the Baltic country.
The man has been stripped of his temporary residence permit and deported from Lithuania, Delfi reported on Thursday.