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2 Russians, 1 Ukrainian face espionage charges in Albania after arrest around military plant

An Albanian court on Wednesday ordered two Russians and a Ukrainian to stay in custody while authorities conduct an espionage investigation in to the suspects activities at a former military weapons manufacturing facility.

Judge Pajtime Fetahu ruled and only prosecutors, who requested that the trio be kept in detention over accusations of securing secret information of military or any character to become supplied to a foreign power, which violates the countrys independence.

But Fetahu, who presides at a court in Elbasan, 25 miles south of Tirana, dropped another much more serious charge of actually providing the information they collected to a foreign country.

The hearing happened nowadays, no details received on why the suspects might have been interested in the website.

Both Russian suspects are 25-year-old Mikhail Zorin, and 33-year-old Svetlana Timofoeva, as the Ukrainian was defined as Fedir Alpatov, authorities said. Alpatovs age wasnt provided.

These were arrested on Saturday inside or close to the former military plant in Gramsh, 50 miles south of the administrative centre Tirana. The suspects had taken photos of the plant.

Authorities said that Zorin, who had entered the plant, used pepper spray on two military guards attempting to capture him. Timofoeva and Alpatov were arrested beyond your complex.

Police said they seized their Chevrolet vehicle, two drones, a laptop, cash along with other evidence.

The three suspects denied the charge of espionage. It wasnt immediately clear whenever a trial will be held. If they’re eventually convicted, they confront 10 years in prison.

The Gramsh military plant opened in 1962 to create AK-47, or Kalashnikov, rifles along with other weapons. It stopped production following the fall of communism in 1990, and started to dismantle the weapons.

The plant continues to be used to correct other military weapons, but there is absolutely no longer any production there.

Local media reported that the three suspects entered Albania from different border entrances and stayed close to the plant. An Ukrainian Embassy official, who was simply present at the hearing, said the Ukrainian suspect was innocent, claiming that Alpatov only served because the Russians driver.

Albania, a NATO member since 2009, has harshly denounced Russias invasion of Ukraine and contains implemented all the sanctions against Moscow by europe and america.

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