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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Senior Military Officer Gets 6 Years for Spying for Georgia

A senior military officer was sentenced to six years in a maximum-security prison in the Krasnodar region on Friday for spying for Georgia ahead of last year’s brief war.

Lieutenant Colonel Mikhail Khachidze, an ethnic Georgian, was convicted of passing Russian military secrets over the Internet to Georgian secret services in June and July 2008, Itar-Tass reported.

“He was found guilty of treason,” said an official with the North Caucasus Regional Military Court, Itar-Tass reported.

Khachidze, who was arrested in August 2008, contacted Georgian officials from the town of Georgiyevsky in the Stavropol region, where he served as the deputy commander of a military unit, Itar-Tass said.

The North Caucasus Regional Military Court, which is located in Rostov-on-Don, also stripped Khachidze of his military rank.

The Criminal Code envisages from 12 to 20 years in prison for spying, but the court took into account the fact that Khachidze had admitted his guilt, cooperated with investigators and had young children, Itar-Tass said.

The Federal Security Service said earlier that Khachidze had gathered secret information for Georgia about his fellow servicemen and the preparedness of Russian troops.

He was recruited by Georgian intelligence in late 2007 while he was stationed in a Russian unit based on Georgian territory, the FSB said. News reports said he was paid several thousand dollars for the secrets.

Russia fought a five-day war with Georgia in August 2008 after Tbilisi tried to seize its breakaway region of South Ossetia by force.

In 2006, Georgia arrested several Russian military officers whom it accused of being spies, causing a diplomatic spat that prompted Moscow to sever transportation and trade ties with Georgia.