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Russia Jails Officers For Spying For Georgia

Russian soldiers stand at a Georgian checkpoint after the brief war in August 2008.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Two Russian officers were sentenced by a military court today to prison terms of 13 and 15 years for passing military secrets to Georgia ahead of the 2008 war between the ex-Soviet neighbors.

A Georgian citizen was also sentenced to 11 years after being convicted of heading a spy ring based in the southern city of Vladikavkaz after traveling to Russia on a false passport, the North Caucasus Military Court said in a statement.

The three passed state secrets to the Georgian government in 2007 and 2008, the court said.

It said the spy ring was broken up after Russian forces crushed an assault by Georgia government troops on the breakaway South Ossetia region and drove deep into the U.S.-supported nation in a five-day war in August 2008.

Russia and Georgia traded espionage accusations as tension increased before the conflict.

Russian officers Khvichi Imerlishvili and Marlen Bogdanov were found guilty of passing information about Russian military installations, intelligence operations and the location of peacekeeping forces, the court said in a statement.